The Legal Department of Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources is currently examining the Petroleum Commission bill to include several changes that were suggested by the new government.
This disclosure was made by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall on Thursday, January 7, during an appearance on a local radio show.
“The bill is at the Ministry of Natural Resources and it is being actively considered by a Legal Department within that ministry,” the Attorney General stated. “That Department is working closely with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel attached to the Attorney General Chambers and I know that the changes that we would like to see in the bill are being looked at right now, examined with a view of incorporating them,” he stated.
Nandlall reminded that the bill was before a Parliamentary Special Select Committee in 2019, when Parliament was dissolved for the holding of the 2020 General and Regional Elections. “…That bill suffered grave and several deficiencies and we were very critical of it,” he said, adding that the dissolution of Parliament effectively “killed” the bill.
That bill provides for the establishment and functioning of the Petroleum Commission of Guyana which is intended to become the primary entity governing the oil and gas industry. 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 political opposition party stating that the ministerial controls and powers contained in the document needed to be curtailed. The amendments were being undertaken by the Department of Energy, which has since been absorbed by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
“We want a Petroleum Commission made up of technical people with an independent board to manage the oil and gas sector,” Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has said.
Minister of Natural resources, Vickram Bharrat had also announced that the bill would be retabled in the National Assembly.