The Government of Guyana will not participate in the third annual Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition (GIPEX) due to the involvement of Valiant Business Media, the organiser. “Once this Valiant is organizing it, we will not participate,” Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said during a press conference Friday. “And I’m making that very clear.”
He said he had spoken about the company as far back as when the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) was in opposition, and his concern that the company has political connections.
“We believe it’s connected to a few individuals. We don’t have a very high regard for the company. I don’t wanna say, I know a few well-connected people in [A Partnership for National Unity] APNU, who may be part… front for this company.”
The annual conference had started under the previous administration as a partnership between Government and the company. The Vice President said he believes the company involved was being used to “skim off resources”.
He added that Government would prefer an indigenously organised conference.
“We believe that things can be indigenously organized too by Guyanese. Why do we have to bring a UK company to organize a conference? And people make a ton of money from this. Can we put together a group of Guyanese who will organize a virtual conference on oil and gas? All the speakers are our people, or those invited from the companies, are here. I believe we should do that more; Guyanese should be part- at the centre of all these things.”
Similar concerns were raised by President of the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC) Manniram Prashad, who described GIPEX as an “anti-local event” and said that participating companies are expected to do so at “exorbitant prices”.
He called on all players in the local oil & gas industry to avoid the organisers he described as “carpetbaggers” who give local collaborators a “pittance”.
Shariq AbdulHai, Chief Executive Officer of Valiant Business Media, said the event has always taken into consideration, or given priority to, local businesses or local companies.
He said the rates are highly subsidized for locals, adding that involved locals are not complaining, but that they actually appreciate the manner in which they are being facilitated.
Abdulhai said there is no criteria for a speaker to pay, and that the majority of local speakers are from non-sponsoring companies. Additionally, he offered that students from the University of Guyana who focus on oil and gas have “complete, full free access to the event.”
OilNOW understands that the June scheduled date is likely to be shifted.