Long journey to EITI country compliance now begins – Ramnarine

Kevin Ramnarine, Trinidad & Tobago’s former Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, speaking at a forum in Georgetown, Guyana.

While Guyana’s achievement of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidacy is an occasion for celebration, it is also important to recognize that the long journey to country compliance has just started.

This is the view of Trinidad and Tobago’s former Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs, Kevin Ramnarine. “Trinidad became a candidate for EITI in 2011 and it took us four years to become country compliant so although you have become a candidate the journey has now started to full country compliance,” he told OilNOW during an interview on Wednesday at Duke Lodge, Georgetown, Guyana.

Guyana’s EITI candidacy was approved on October 25 in Manila.  The country’s first EITI Report must be published within the next 18 months and the country will be required to commence Validation within two and a half years.

Mr. Ramnarine said, “There are a number of boxes that have to be ticked between now and your eventual country compliance…tax laws of Guyana may have to be changed to accommodate EITI and civil society will have to form itself into a committee, that includes business, labor, the Government and everybody has to be part of that.”

This international certification will also aid in building public trust and confidence. He said, “Prior to EITI we never knew that in Trinidad that was a secret that was kept by the revenue authority so we always knew what the total figure was for oil and gas revenue we never had it disaggregated into individual companies. Now we have that and we are expanding the EITI to include the mining industry.”

Meanwhile, when asked if he felt that Guyana has the time to put all it needs to put in place before first oil in 2020, Ramnarine said, “No, I think Guyana is running out of time.”

He made reference to the Petroleum Commission, which in his view, should be established at least two years before commercial oil production begins to providing adequate time for officials to learn and understand how it ought to work.