Former Guyana Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, on Monday released a statement heavily criticizing international NGO, Global Witness, in wake of the organisation’s move to withdraw its controversial report – Signed Away – issued in February 2020. Below is the full text of Mr. Trotman’s statement.
Monday, January 11, 2021
Statement on Global Witness withdrawal of ‘Signed Away’ report by Hon. Raphael Trotman, Member of Parliament
I have taken note of media reports which state that Global Witness has withdrawn its report, ‘Signed Away’ which was issued in February 2020 and which was severely critical of the agreement between the Government of Guyana and ExxonMobil and its partners, of me specifically, several of my Cabinet colleagues and former President David Granger.
I take note of Global Witness’ self-confessed “over-estimation” of projected oil production, the sole basis upon which their criticisms were levelled. The timing of the release of the report, a mere month before the General and Regional Elections of March 2, 2020, was neither coincidental nor without deliberate purpose.
It is now established, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Global Witness allowed itself to be used to further political and economic interests prior to Guyana’s 2020 elections.
Now that the abominable, dirty deed is done, Global Witness finds it convenient to withdraw the report, not in part, but entirely and clumsily use the fig leaf of environmental causes. This is shameful and repugnant and constitutes subversive political interference in the affairs of a sovereign state’s electoral process in seeking to influence the outcome of an election.
This is against all tenets of sovereignty, non-interference, decency, fairness and balance.
Unfortunately, the damage has been done and the ‘Economic Hit Men’ get to go off sipping tea and laughing at another dirty deed accomplished.
I believe also that an excuse is being made to avoid an investigation, which I agreed with. The investigation should proceed in earnest and will receive my full and unequivocal support.