In wake of a series of comments made to the media during an interview on Wednesday by Advisor to the President on Petroluem, Dr. Jan Mangal, Guyana’s former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud, has taken issue with what he describes as a “disingenuous” act on the part of the Presidential Advisor.
Dr. Mangal told reporters that the details of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) between Guyana and ExxonMobil which paves the way for first oil in 2020 should be disclosed to the public. “…I believe all resource contracts should be made public, not only petroleum; diamond, gold, timber. These are all resources of the people…in the long-term that is what will help Guyana,” he said.
The Guyana government’s position on this issue, as articulated by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has always hinged on what it says is the need to be cautious due to issues related to foreign affairs, national security and the country’s sovereignty.
Dr. Mangal also went on to outline his position on several matters, including other issues of transparency, provision of information to the public by government, and what he says is the need for the administration to “bite the bullet” and pay for high level professionals to come and advise on oil and gas matters.
Persaud believes that the comments made by Dr. Mangal to the media should have been made directly to the President or relevant ministers instead, since that course of action is in keeping with the job of being an advisor.
“If you are a Presidential Advisor, would it not be more prudent to tender your advice directly to the President of Guyana or the relevant Ministers? Aren’t Advisors meant to serve the President and his primary assistants whom are Ministers?” he asked, in a post on his Facebook page on Friday.
Persaud said while the thrust of the advice might be relevant, “it’s a bit of a queer situation to have that advice being channeled in this most disingenuous manner. I’m looking for another example of this type of conduct,” he stated.
Such occurrences, the former natural resources minister believes, would serve to bring the country’s image and government’s standing into disrepute. “Guyana should not be the object of derision, no matter who is paying the piper, especially as we make that turn onto major league in oil and gas,” Persaud indicated.