While the APNU+AFC Administration has been able to release all petroleum agreements with the cooperation of the respective operators, Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, noted this morning that mining companies are not so open to doing same. He said that laws may have to be enacted for this to occur.
Trotman made this known during a press conference that was held at the Secretariat of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative on Main Street. There, Trotman spoke extensively on Guyana’s inaugural report to the EITI and what the government intends to do regarding some of the findings and recommendations listed in the report.
One of the recommendations in the report is that Guyana should publish all mining agreements, especially when one considers the fact that the nation’s laws make objection to same. But Trotman said this is easier said than done. He said one has to consider the fact that there are strict confidentiality clauses in many of these agreements.
Minister Trotman said, “The laws may not speak to confidentiality but the agreements have clauses embedded in them and they are strict in some cases and that is something we need to remember. The agreement is also a legally binding document.”
Trotman was then reminded that he has often spoken about confidentiality clauses being a major obstacle. Asked to say if there is a way around this, the minister answered in the affirmative. He said that the publication of all contracts needs to happen but one must understand that it is a process that takes times, “and I believe, if it is necessary, we may have to enact laws to ensure compliance.”
Asked to say how soon the government intends to get the ball rolling on this matter, Trotman said, “The ball is already rolling.”
He added, “We have written letters and Cabinet has had discussions on this. You may not hear it or see it, but the ball is rolling.”