In previous Guyana Standard articles, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman and former Presidential Advisor Dr Jan Mangal provided their views on the inability of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission’s (GGMC) to do independent reviews of the geological data it receives from ExxonMobil.
Dr Mangal had laid the blame of GGMC’s incapacity squarely at the feet of Minister Trotman who has responsibility for the Commission.
But Trotman had told this news agency that he disagrees with this perspective. Trotman said that this sort of advice and assistance is exactly why Dr. Mangal was hired and, as such, he should share some responsibility for the state of affairs at GGMC as it relates to handling oil-related matters.
In a letter to the press, Dr Mangal responded to the Minister’s comments. Below are his statements in full:
The Honourable Minister Trotman, in the Guyana Standard online publication on the 28th May 2019, said “… at no point during his tenure did he (Jan Mangal) ever request that capacity be developed or that the relevant expertise be hired to ensure independent reviews of data on the Stabroek Block which would be submitted by ExxonMobil.”
Are we to believe that Hon. Minister Trotman, willingly taking taxpayer money to fund his salary and healthcare, believes that it was the job of an adviser to the President to request capacity development of the honourable minister’s ministry? Wasn’t that the honourable minister’s paying job?
The honourable minister was already “responsible” for gold, diamonds, timber, etc., and if we assume those commodities generate about US$500 million per year (for example), and the honourable minister has about 100 people working to manage these responsibilities (for example), then why would the honourable minister not have a clue that he needed to hire more people for oil which could add an additional U.S.$1,000 million (one billion U.S. dollars) per year in the near future? If the honourable minister did not grasp that he needed to hire more people for this tremendously important new commodity (i.e., oil), then the current Ministry of Natural Resources may be even more completely rudderless than the honourable minister’s “defence” might suggest.
Before I was hired by President Granger in March 2017, I spent a week in July 2016 on a fact-finding mission with Mr Anthony Paul who was assessing Guyana’s readiness for oil & gas. Mr Paul was commissioned by Minister Trotman’s own ministry, and Mr Paul’s report clearly described the need for capacity and competency. To assist the honourable minister, here are simple questions about Mr. Paul’s report. Where is that report? Why is the report not public? Why was the report not acted on by the Honourable Minister Trotman?
Thoughtful readers can easily understand President Granger’s confidence in the honourable minister when the President took the decision not only to establish the new Department of Energy, but to remove oil & gas from the honourable minister’s remit. Moreover, it has since come to my attention that an independent global watchdog organisation, headquartered in the U.K., is now estimating that the actions of the very honourable minister, ostensibly advised by a former minister and a current Sir, may have forfeited Guyana some U.S.$120,000 million (U.S.$120 billion) for the entire Stabroek Block by their disastrous negotiations with Exxon without engaging competent advice.
We recall the drivel used to justify hiding a signing bonus of a mere U.S.$18 million around the time when, comparably, Brazil received a signing bonus of U.S.$1 billion from the very Exxon. History has already judged that collective wisdom and put a dollar amount to it. Guyanese citizens, however, are still stuck paying not only the honourable gentlemen’s salaries (said at one point to be U.S.$1 million for the current Sir), but forfeiting nearly U.S.$1 billion that could instead be being used now to build schools, hospitals, homes, roads, bridges, and to better the pay of hardworking Guyanese.
Back to capacity building for oil and gas. Presuming already widespread consciousness of the honourable minister’s truthfulness, are thoughtful readers really any less than perfectly confident that the minister did not receive more than one correspondence about the need to develop capacity?