Natural Resources ministry responds to Raphael Trotman gold smuggling statement

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See below full statement issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources:

Raphael Trotman continues to revel in what obviously is some form of delusions of grandeur. Perhaps it first surfaced in a major way in his book in which he painted himself as one who can rescue Guyana from the 2016 catastrophic contract with ExxonMobil, deluding himself in the obvious belief that the public would forget that he negotiated and signed the very contract in the first place. More recently, in the press, he repeated this demented allusion of saving Guyana’s oil and gas sector by possessing the willingness and capability of “renegotiating” the very lopsided contract that he authored.

Today, the public is visited with another fit of his fantasy on the matter of gold smuggling by accusing the government of dismantling a unit that never existed. It is worth recalling that in 2016 in a published news report, Mr. Trotman admitted that 50% to 60% of LOCAL GOLD PRODUCTION was lost to smuggling, as he estimated that approximately 15,000 ounces of gold were being smuggled overseas weekly.

The news article further stated that former Minister of Public Security, Mr Khemraj Ramjattan, was also made aware of a briefing from law enforcement agents out of the United States about gold smuggling out of Guyana. If, indeed, these former senior government officials were made aware of the severity of the issue, then they should be held accountable.

Mr. Trotman now wants to change the narrative with respect to the source of gold allegedly smuggled by referring to an operation involving Guyana, Venezuela and Columbia, although he mentioned the source as LOCAL GOLD PRODUCTION in the very news article in 2016.

Further, in today’s disclosure, Trotman regails that the then Ministry of the Presidency initiated “its own intelligence led operation” to curb gold smuggling and transnational crime. “I am reliably informed that this operation was shut down within five days of the new administration taking office in 2020.

Mr. Trotman cannot leave the nation in such suspense. He must disclose, who were involved in this intelligence led operation? Which law enforcement agency led this investigation? Why was no one charged in five years while they were in Government? Why has no report or any information whatsoever in respect of this investigation ever been made public? Why only now, nearly a decade after, the public is hearing of this information and investigation?

For the public record, no such operations/investigation were discovered at the Office of the President in August 2020 and logically there was no “shut down” of any such operation within five days of the Government taking office three and a half years ago, or at all. In the circumstances we are forced to conclude that Raphael Trotman is enduring another flight of his usual fantasies.

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