Letter: Pressing questions for PM Rowley ahead of MoU signing

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Dr Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Dear Honourable Prime Minister,

Welcome to Guyana! I note your newly-birthed excitement to visit Guyana and to partake in our oil and gas ‘prosperity.’

As someone, who still believes in the potential of the CARICOM project, it is always comforting when we can identify strengths, in each other, and develop synergistic arrangements for MUTUAL benefits. This is a position Guyana has pursued, wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, since the dawn of the regional integration movement in the post-Independence era.

Now that you are in the land of the next regional energy giant, I wish to pose a few questions, which the people of Guyana have been seeking answers to:

  • Are you committed to immediately, reducing the massive trade deficit between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago?
  • If your answer is yes; when will the non-tariff barriers, preventing our agriculture products from entering the TT market, be removed?
  • Can Guyanese entering TT legally be assured of being treated with respect and without any hassle?
  • Did you alert Guyana and other buyers of Petrotrin products about the need to find alternative sources of fuel products in advance of the announcement to close the Petrotrin refinery?
  • Would you agree with me, and many others, who share view that the TT model of managing oil and gas wealth has proven to be one of the less inspiring ones across the globe and a model Guyana should not adopt in full?
  • Would TT, given its close economic and political ties with the belligerent, undemocratic Nicholas Maduro regime of Venezuela, be willing to say that it unequivocally supports Guyana’s case against Venezuela’s illegal border claims of both land and offshore areas before the International Court of Justice?
  • Do you believe in Guyana’s right to pursue a legal and functional Local/National Content framework for our emerging oil and gas sector?

Mr. Prime Minister, I know many of the issues raised in the above questions you inherited and were not of your current, making. But given your Office and public-posturing on these matters, of recent, answers to these would certainly give our population a better perspective on our outlook viz-a-vis Guyana and the growing fears we have of TT-owned and based companies dominating services in the oil and gas sector, and several other areas of the economy.

Do enjoy the unmatched hospitality of our people and Government.

Yours truly,

Robert M. Persaud

Citizen of Guyana and former Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment