‘Cuss out’ against ExxonMobil is unwarranted – Foreign Affairs Minister

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Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge has cautioned against the numerous criticisms levelled against US oil giant, ExxonMobil, noting that the prolonged ‘cuss out’ of the company is unwarranted.

During an outreach to Region Six on Sunday, the Minister noted that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure monies collected from companies, including oil companies, is spent to develop its people.

“It is our job to ensure that our inland revenue department is competently manned so as to analyse their books and impose the taxes they are supposed to pay. You can’t start up by beating up the company when in fact company hasn’t been due to pay taxes and refused to pay taxes,” Minister Greenidge was quoting as saying in a release by the Department of Public Information (DPI).

ExxonMobil has come in for heavy criticism in the local media for the way it conducted business in other countries, however, according to the DPI release, Minister Greenidge said: “what that should do is to put you on caution, on alert not to cause you to cuss them up.”

The DPI release further noted that the Foreign Affairs Minister cautioned residents not to “believe these jokers that will have you cuss out a company that has found oil and develop that oil”.

ExxonMobil in partnership with CNOOC Nexen and Hess Corporation put Guyana on the map with its discovery of oil in 2015. Currently, the company is developing the Liza Field located in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana for oil production in 2020.

Minister Greenidge engaging the audience during a town hall-style meeting Corriverton, Berbice [Ministry of Foreign Affairs photo]
The Stabroek block is now estimated to contain between 2.25 – 2.75 billion oil-equivalent barrels. Other oil companies have expressed interest in oil exploration offshore Guyana since Exxon’s de-risking of the Guyana offshore basin.

According to the DPI, the government is currently establishing policies and legislation to effectively govern the oil and gas industry. In its commitment to accountability and transparency in the industry, the government has joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and has recently committed to making its contract with Exxon public.

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