International best practices dictate that a nation’s Local Content Policy should be written, reviewed or completed by an independent specialist or firm. But what is taking place in Guyana is the complete opposite says Local Content Expert, Rene Tissot. In his view, Guyana should not be using Dr. Michael Warner, a specialist who is on ExxonMobil’s payroll, to finish its Local Content Policy.

This news agency had exposed that not only is Dr. Warner an employee of ExxonMobil, but his company, Local Content Solutions Limited, was acquired by DAI International Group a few months ago. DAI is an American company which manages ExxonMobil’s Local Content Centre for Development located on South Road, Georgetown. Warner provides training there on how local businesses can fit themselves into ExxonMobil’s supply chain.

During an exclusive interview with this news agency this evening, Tissot said that it is better to have a person or firm whose obligations only lie with the country. He said it is tantamount to having the company’s lawyer writing or amending the nation’s petroleum laws.

The Local Content Expert alluded to the fact that in such instances, there would be great suspicion on the part of the citizenry that provisions which are most suited to the interests of the company and not the country would be heavily inserted into those documents.

Tissot told this news agency that while one can appreciate the fact that ExxonMobil’s views must be considered in the process, independence of the Consultant is paramount. Asked to say if he has ever heard of similar instances, Tissot answered in the affirmative. He was quick to note however that it is not recommended if one wants to follow international best practices.

Since the horse is already out of the proverbial stable, Tissot said it becomes even more important for citizens to be vigilant during upcoming rounds of consultation.

“So what I would advise is that citizens look up the internationally recognized principles that must guide the finishing of the Local Content Policy…There is abundant literature on this by non-governmental organizations and local content think tanks,” expressed the Consultant.

He said that the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) is one good place of reference for such policies and guidance on the best practices in the industry.


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