Over the last two years, several local activists have expressed serious concern about the capacity of USA oil giant, ExxonMobil to corrupt Guyana’s politicians especially during the election period.
But the company’s outgoing Head of Public Affairs, Kimberly Brasington, recently assured that ExxonMobil will not be making financial contributions to elections here.
Brasington said, “We do not and will not contribute to political campaigns in Guyana. ExxonMobil has a policy that prevents campaign financing. We are a commercial entity and we work in countries for decades, independent of any particular government.”
The ExxonMobil official added, “Governments change over the course of the oil and gas industry’s presence in a country and we work with the government as a partner for the country’s development of natural resources.”
But while Brasington maintains that there is a strict policy against election contributions, there are innumerable reports which speak to ExxonMobil’s history of making financial contributions to elections outside of these shores. Brasington was informed of this, and the fact that Canada and the USA are just two prime examples. (See links for further details:https://thinkprogress.org/how-exxon-mobil-finances-the-republican-party-780ca126f57e/ , https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2017/01/10/296277/how-exxon-won-the-2016-election/ )
To this, the ExxonMobil official said, “I will clarify, but my understanding is that those donations are made by employees, not by the company.”
On its website, ExxonMobil states that it makes political contributions to candidate committees and other political organizations in the United States and Canada. Even though the corporation says that it refrains from making political contributions as part of its policy, it does so where laws are applicable.
Prior to winning the 2015 elections, the David Granger led administration had promised that there would be significant amendments to Guyana’s archaic campaign financing laws. In fact, President Granger had said that there would be strict disclosure provisions so that citizens can know those who are funding campaigns and to what extent. Since assuming office, this election promise remains unfulfilled.