Petroleum Adviser Not Government’s spokesman – Minister Harmon
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, February 8, 2018
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon has reiterated that Petroleum Adviser to President David Granger, Dr. Jan Mangal does not speak on behalf of the Government of Guyana or the President.
The Minister’s statement comes on the heels of comments made by Dr. Mangal related to the Government’s contract with ExxonMobil, at a forum last evening hosted by the University of Guyana.
He clarified that Dr. Mangal is not a spokesman, for President Granger or the Government, on Petroleum, but as an Adviser operates within a framework.
“In that framework, advise is given to His Excellency, it is up to the President to decide this advice is good I will follow it, this advice is not good I will not follow it,” Minister Harmon noted.
The role of an Adviser, the Minister said is to advise not to give directions.
The State Minister, while stating categorically that the views of the Adviser do not represent those of the Administration, said there is nothing prohibiting him from sharing those views at various fora.
“Dr. Mangal, as a member of the team that advises the President on Petroleum, can give his advice within that structure…as a citizen of the country, he is free also to give advice internationally and to the nation as a whole.”
Minister Harmon noted too that Dr. Mangal’s contract, if it is renewed, will be done on the basis of the advice he gives to the President and not on statements he made as a private citizen.
The President was slated to speak at the event, but it was later announced that Dr. Mangal will make a presentation instead. Minister Harmon said there is nothing cynical about President Granger’s non-attendance.
“The President is the Chief-of-State, to put it that way and therefore will have several issues of state he has to deal with on a daily basis and very often he has to make choices because of clashes of duties.”
The Minister alluded to the fact that the President on many occasions has assigned Ministers to speak on his behalf since most matters are discussed at the Cabinet level, therefore they are all aware of the Government’s policy direction.
“This is why I have urged the members of the media to seek out ministers individually on matters which they want clarity on, because the ministers, not like under the previous administration, cannot speak to the media,” he said.
Minister Harmon pointed out that there were several Ministers who spoke at the inaugural Guyana Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX) 2018, which the State Minister said is a testimony of the understanding ministers have of the oil and gas sector, as well as its importance in the country’s development.
By: Stacy Carmichael
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