Reduced ministerial powers possible for Petroleum Commission

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Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, says efforts are being made to address the concerns of several stakeholders that the Petroleum Commission of Guyana Bill in its current form, bestows too much authority in the subject minister.

In a recent interview at his Brickdam, Georgetown office, Mr. Trotman said the Bill was placed in the public domain and views were solicited so that what is ultimately arrived at would be based on broad-based consensus. “…So I am not at all surprised by some of the criticisms that have been made particularly that the Minister has too many powers, but when one looks at the manner in which semi-autonomous agencies are established in Guyana; whether it’s the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency or the recently created Wildlife Commission, they all are the same,” he said.

Considering that the oil and gas industry has the potential to drastically transform the South American country, Mr. Trotman said it is understood that public perception would see the stakes as being higher, and as such, there is great need for the highest level of transparency and accountability.

“I think there is a natural suspicion that is not only seen in Guyana,  wherever there are resources, people believe that things are being hidden and in fact, there have been some ugly stories in some parts of the world. We have not yet started production and so there is no revenue that is being hidden or syphoned away, but we have been working very closely with the IDB, with the World Bank and with the IMF to develop a framework,” he stated.

The public can be assured, Mr. Trotman said, that their concerns are being taken into consideration. “There is a push for wider powers and as I said before, we want a nationally accepted Bill. We have been listening to the comments and criticisms and critiques and I can assure the Guyanese people that they are going to be changed in the Bill,” he said.

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