Amendments being made to Petroleum Commission bill

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Raphael Trotman, Guyana's Minister of Natural Resources.

Further amendments are being made to the bill being proposed for the establishment of Guyana’s Petroleum Commission – the regulatory body that will have oversight of the oil and gas industry.

The move, which would possibly see the reducing of the ministerial powers over the country’s Petroleum Commission, was discussed with the Guyanese media at a recent press conference. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, disclosed that he deliberately paused the process of moving the bill through Parliament. The proposed Bill was at the time before a Parliamentary Special Select Committee.

According to Mr. Trotman, the course of action was taken in order to take the Bill back to the Cabinet Counsel of Ministers to sign off on the changes.

Mr. Trotman had been asked by OilNOW to provide an update on the Bill, at which time he disclosed plans to have the legislative instrument “taken back to Cabinet, so that we could in fact incorporate some of the worthwhile suggestions which have come to us.”

Commission Quota

According to the natural Resources Minister, “I deliberately paused its progress in the National Assembly so that we can receive more comments, and more have come in and I would wish to have further amendments to that Bill.”

The proposed changes, he said, include altering the makeup of the Commission itself and the quota of its members.

In its current construct – as proposed in the initial draft – the recommended quota is seven persons; drawn from academia, experts, civil society and representatives of the Parliamentary Opposition.

“The suggestion (now) is perhaps we increase the numbers to two or three each…but that’s ultimately a matter for Cabinet to make a decision on,” he said.

Mr. Trotman also used the opportunity to relate, too, that concerns were raised with regards to what obtains with Ministerial powers in the time between the appointment of a board and of the Minister being able to make orders.

He was adamant “that is what remains now in all agencies, semi-autonomous agencies,” and highlighted as an example the functioning of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), among others.