Sunday, February 5, 2023

Guyana still intent on establishing Petroleum Commission – VP

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Guyana’s Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has assured that the government has every intention of establishing a Petroleum Commission. The VP, during a press conference on Friday, did not indicate a definitive timeline when the Commission would be instituted but reiterated that the government will stand by its “commitment to do so.”

Jagdeo had long said the government intends for the Petroleum Commission to comprise of those with technical knowledge of the industry, adding a needed layer of management between the regulation of the sector and politicians.

Responding to a report by the local daily Kaieteur News that there is no Commission in place, Dr. Jagdeo sought to stave off the criticism by noting that having such a Commission “is not a safeguard against corruption.”

“I can tell you about the countries with the worse corruption track records that have Petroleum Commissions that are independent,” he stated.

The Commission, according to Jagdeo, will serve to ensure that there is utmost transparency within Guyana’s oil and gas sector.

In the absence of the Commission, he said that the government has committed to ensuring that all pertinent documents relating to the sector is made available for public perusal on the Ministry of Natural Resources’ website, including contracts and environmental permits.

“So, we are still going to go [ahead] with the Petroleum Commission… I do not want to commit to a timeline of when it would be in place, but it will be in place,” the Vice President said.

The government has undertaken a review of Guyana’s current Petroleum Commission Bill – which would give way to the formation of the Commission.

In 2017, the previous government had tabled the bill in the National Assembly, but in 2018 announced amendments were to be made. Numerous concerns were raised at the time with the then opposition party stating that the ministerial controls and powers contained in the document needed to be curtailed.

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