The Guyana government says it remains committed to doing what is best for the country’s emerging oil and gas industry and will continue to pursue measures that allow for transparency in the sector.
Speaking at a public meeting of the Guyana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GYEITI) last Thursday, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, said Government recognises that it should not wait until mid-2020 when oil production is expected to begin, to start putting systems in place. It is for this reason, he said, initiatives such as pursuing EITI candidacy were being pursued well in advance of oil production. “Alongside of course, this initiative, we have started the process of reforms; adding new laws where none existed and of course reforming laws which exist,” he said.
Rerferring to the Petroleum Commission Bill of Guyana that is currently before the country’s Parliament, Mr. Trotman said, “Government wants to do what is right and what is best for the industry, and even now among ourselves we are having a discussion about how we can still reform and refine the Bill, though presented by government, to ensure the final product is not one that reflects government’s opinion only, but certainly a national opinion.”
Civil society has been invited to submit recommendations and comments on the Petroleum Bill which is currently before a special select committee of Parliament. The draft legislation, once passed and signed into law, will allow for the setting up of a Petroleum Commission which will be the governing body for Guyana’s petroleum industry.
Mr. Trotman and the Guyana government have faced criticism for the pace at which measures are being put in place in preparation for oil production, and the level of information available publicly. The government has said there is nothing to hide and measures being taken are in the best interest of the country.