Newspaper accused of “character assassination”

– no coincidence in timing of article – Min. Trotman

– articles malicious

DPI, Guyana, Sunday, January 13, 2019

Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, today, said the Kaieteur News is attempting to assassinate his character. The minister referred to an article published on January 12 in the usually controversial publication.

In a letter to the editor, Minister Trotman said he believes that the article, which came almost three weeks to the date, after the December 21st vote in the National Assembly, was intended to target the Ministry of Natural Resources with heavy hints of corruption and malfeasance.

“Jostling and character assassinations … and there is certainly nothing random or coincidental about the appearance of this story at this time,” said Minister Trotman

Additionally, the minister stated as erroneous, the article which claimed that his ministry did not do its job, of properly preparing Guyana for the oil sector and alleges that “Guyana lost negotiating leverage against Exxon”.

He also refuted claims that his ministry made decisions which only favoured oil companies.

Minister Trotman said that at all times, the Quintet of Ministers, and the Cabinet, discussed and approved every decision made, and no one Minister, or Ministry, had the authority, attempted to, or was able to make any unilateral decision.

“Hundreds of meetings were held, and proposals received, coming from every part of the globe and it was their duty as Ministers to work with the Technical Officers to sift these and make presentations to Cabinet from time to time” Stated Min. Trotman

The minister noted that he does not claim perfection and willingly accept that some things could have been done differently, however, he notes that it was a Herculean challenge, and still is today, but government remains on target to meet the objective of “first oil” by the first quarter of 2020.

“But in the end, a few persons, with little or no prior knowledge, did everything humanly possible to quickly grasp the rudiments, and prepare for a petroleum sector, whilst giving effect to the instruction that production should commence within the shortest reasonable time,” Minister Trotman explained.

He also rejected claims by the newspaper that government’s motivation towards early “first oil” had to do with elections in 2020.

“On May 26, 2015, literally, as the President was being inaugurated, and we were celebrating our independence anniversary, decrees were being issued elsewhere proclaiming that the Liza well was not in Guyana’s territorial waters and was not our property… When someone, standing with a piece of wood in hand, shouts out that the mangoes growing in your back yard are not yours, you don’t stand around waiting to see what happens next, or for a lash, you start preparing to pick those mangoes as quickly as possible. Stated the minister of Natural Resources Minister.

He reiterated that during the period that the petroleum sector was under his ministry, guidance and advice came from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and a range of local and foreign advisors in its decision-making.

Felecia Valenzuela.

Image: Department of Information.

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