Robert Persaud demands apology from Jan Mangal or threatens to sue for $215M

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Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Robert Persaud is threatening to sue former Petroleum Advisor Jan Mangal for a series of defamatory articles dating back to 2015 and involving the period when Persaud served as Minister of Natural Resources.

Persaud has requested an immediate retraction of the articles and publications and for an apology to be issued.

In a cease and desist letter written to Mangal by Persaud’s Attorney Devindra Kissoon, Mangal has been warned that should he fail to retract the articles and issue an apology, Persaud will commence suit for the significant injury he has and continues to suffer.

The letter said that will be in an amount to be determined at trial, but not less than $215 million. Persaud, through his lawyer, said Mangal has accused him repeatedly since 2015 of awarding oil blocks to companies with little experience in oil production just prior to the general and regional elections under the guise of suspicion and as being corrupt, illegal, and fraudulent.

“The articles and statements are based on the false premise that Mr Persaud actively and intentionally awarded oil blocks to companies in an illegal manner, essentially ‘gifting’ the Kaieteur and Canje oil blocks to local companies under fraudulent and illegal means, all allegations which are not only untrue but fundamentally offensive and defamatory,” the letter explained.

Persaud insists that Mangal’s statements have impacted him personally and professionally by damaging his credibility, causing much distress and damage.

“Even more egregious is the fact that you have been on a repeated campaign over the last 5 (five) years to defame Mr Persaud when in fact, you would have been aware that it was the then President of Guyana, as the Minister of Petroleum, and not Mr Persaud, who had awarded the said oil blocks in 2015,” it further noted.

Persaud contends that as the former Advisor on Petroleum to the then President, David Granger, Mangal would have had access to records which would have shown that the companies’ applications were being processed by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (“GGMC”) since 2012/2013, and at no time was he involved in the review of applications or any technical processes.

“The recommendations made by the technical staff of the GGMC were then transmitted to the former President, who then made the awards of the oil blocks. Any delay in granting the awards were as a result of the actions of Venezuela, which had carried out various forms of aggressions to disrupt petroleum exploration activities in Guyana’s off-shore; this being public knowledge,” the lawyer’s letter stated.

Mangal is put on notice that his repeated and continued suggestions of fraud or illegal dealings against Persaud are clearly defamatory and without any basis.

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