Response to Kaieteur News Article
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
- 1. 13
Almost predictably, and almost three weeks to the date after the infamy of events surrounding the No Confidence Motion in the National Assembly, a seemingly random media story has appeared (KN – 2018.1.12) that is intended to target the Ministry of Natural Resources with heavy hints of corruption and malfeasance. The jostling and character assassinations will be the order of the day in this “silly season” and there is certainly nothing random or coincidental about the appearance of this story at this time.
Therefore, it is reiterated that during the period of responsibility for the petroleum sector, the Ministry of Natural Resources relied on the guidance and advice of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and a range of local and foreign advisors in its decision-making processes. At all material times, the Quintet of Ministers, and the Cabinet, discussed and approved every decision made, and no one Minister, or Ministry, had the authority, attempted, 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 our duty as Ministers to work with the Technical Officers to sift these and make presentations to Cabinet from time to time.
We do not claim perfection and willingly accept that some things could have been done differently, 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. This was a Herculean challenge, and still today, I believe that we are on target to meet the objective of “first oil” by the first quarter of 2020, and are proud of the strides that the Department of Energy is making.
The motivation propelling us towards early “first oil” had little to do with elections in 2020, and more to do with the fact that 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. This was our primary duty and responsibility.