Guyana’s Minister of State, Joseph Harmon says consistently disingenuous and misleading negative reports in sections of the Guyanese media on matters relating to the country’s emerging oil and gas industry is beginning to take its toll – something the State has taken notice of.
Mr. Harmon hosted a post cabinet media briefing on Thursday at the country’s Ministry of the Presidency (MOPT) and reacted to “commentators and experts who are now writing…about oil.”
The Minister of State, in chiding the reportage, insisted the Guyanese Executive “understands what best practices are, we understand also that there are implications of decisions which are made.”
“…sometimes we read somethings that are happening in other countries, and the countries whose economic conditions are different from ours, but if we import these things as if it is Guyana, one gets the impression that all of these things are happening in Guyana when you import onto the pages of a newspaper things that are happening in very far off countries,” he said.
He further added, “…when we seek to make it appear as if these things are happening in Guyana by putting it on the front page of our newspapers, I believe that is a little bit disingenuous, and I think that it is having an impact on people who read the newspapers.”
The amended Petroleum Sharing Agreement (PSA) between Guyana and ExxonMobil – along with joint venture partners Hess and CNOOC Nexen – was released in December last to the public and has since been subject to a barrage of criticism – sometimes ‘ill-informed’ and ‘misguided’ according to state officials and some experts in the field.
The lamentation by the Government’s chief spokesperson comes on the heels of similar criticism by academia, against some media reportage on oil.
University of Guyana’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, recently spoke about inaccuracies in public debate and some media reportage as a result of a weak flow of information from government to the citizens; from technocrats to politicians; and from knowledgeable civil servants to journalists.
This obtains, she said, “in a technical field, such as oil exploration,” where “the popular (now) some journalistic views that are associated with a laissez-faire strategy are largely inaccurate.”
Professor Mohamed-Martin posits; “in an absence of factual and transparent information – it is likely to be filled with something…In this situation in many cases, new public and private discourse will be ill informed, speculative, precipitous and out of context.”