In the wake of a scandal in 2017 over Government’s non-disclosure of a US$18 million signing bonus with ExxonMobil, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman walked away from management of the oil and gas sector.
On Friday morning, he said one of the reasons was because managing the sector had become a “poisoned chalice.”
Now, he is making the case that no one person or party should have a say in managing the sector, particularly how the oil revenues will be spent.
“We should be able to work out a shared vision of how this resource is going to be developed, how the money will be spent,” Trotman said during an interview programme at the Georgetown Club.
Any time he was asked about plans for oil and gas, he went back to the “imperative” that the Government and the opposition should cooperate in the process.
He added: “It shouldn’t be spent based on one Government’s or one person’s beliefs.”
He said at the moment, Guyana is looking at recovering seven billion barrels of oil.
“No one group, no one Government or party, can do all of this alone. We need to do it together.”
Minister Trotman is among those who believes that citizens should benefit directly from a cash transfer of the oil revenues, but he said this should not be a blanket process of cash in the hands of every Guyanese citizen.
Trotman argued that many Guyanese do not see the transformation potential of the oil and gas sector.
“We are going to be very, very, very wealthy, beyond our expectations, and I believe a bi-partisan and national approach has to be found,” Trotman stated.
The Minister was asked again about the contract and it’s 2% royalty. He said the Government agreed to take half of the profits with the royalty because it needed to “strengthened” the agreement the former PPP Government had made with the American oil giant.
“We are unable on our own to develop this resource, countries like ours need international partners to develop their resources. Of course, we want better terms for those agreements…,” he stated.
He repeated the fact that the Government has no intention of renegotiating the contract as It respects the sanctity of contracts.
“When you’re dealing with billions of barrels of oil, as I said, Guyana is going to be very wealthy….”
Given what lies ahead, Trotman said the Opposition should rethink its position and talk with the Government on matters outside of Guyana’s territorial integrity.
“We may bark at each other, we may fight each other from time to time, but I believe that on both sides of the aisles, there are patriots and we will settle down and get it right.
“There are naysayers who said they are going to destroy each… we don’t want to destroy each other. This is our democracy; we will fix it.”