Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, during an interview on Monday at his Duke Street, Georgetown office, said the Government is not oblivious to criticisms in the oil and gas sector, but noted that it must be constructive.
He said, “What we are hearing in Guyana is no different than what is heard in other countries where they have made a major discovery of a resource and so all of the experts say that this kind of noise and criticism is quite expected. It happens elsewhere, whether it is Brazil or Kenya. You always have a minority that is shouting very loudly that everything is bad.”
The Minister, nevertheless, did admit that criticisms do hurt at times, “because I know that they (critics) know better.”
But he said he is constantly reminded that government has to stay resolute to the cause of developing a sustainable oil and gas industry.
“In Norway, which is held out as this bastion of good management of the resource; the head of Norway Petroleum department said to me that you should be very grateful that you have ExxonMobil here in Guyana. He is saying that it is one of the best companies in the world in terms of standards for environmental health and safety and in terms of dealings with Governments and so forth. But that is not to say that we are dealing with angels.”
The Natural Resources Minister said the Government is aware of the fact that Exxon is in the business to make a profit, “but Guyana is going to be making billions in US dollars, it is not a pittance. It is more than we can spend in a lifetime and that is why we are looking to see how we can prepare for the future.”
Mr. Trotman was adamant that the Government will remain focused and will do what needs to be done to build an oil and gas industry based on accountability and transparency.