When it comes to the 2020 General and Regional Elections, Opposition Member and former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy says Guyanese will have to face one of the biggest questions of their lives—Should the APNU+AFC coalition administration be allowed to continue shafting the Nation or not?

According to the former Minister, Guyanese have been “royally” shafted when it comes to the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that was negotiated and signed on October, 2016 between the Coalitions administration and ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).

In his most recent commentary shared with the media, Dr. Ramsammy said that the contract contains weak provisions, and in other cases, sees the absence of any provision to prevent ExxonMobil and its partners from being able to walk away with the biggest portions of the profits to be had from the Stabroek Block.

Dr. Ramsammy said, “Everywhere you go in Guyana, people openly talk of how royally APNU+AFC shafted Guyana, with the Oil and Gas story being just another example… Even as first oil is days away, we are now told that if Exxon cheats on their accounting, inflating their expenses, they would not be penalized.” In this regard, the Opposition Member was referencing a recent media report which stated that Energy Department Director, Dr. Mark Bynoe has said that any overstatements by Exxon or its partners would attract no punishment of any kind. It would simply not be honoured he said.

In addition to admonishing the Party for accepting a meager two percent royalty, Dr. Ramsammy was keen to note that the government left the country accepting the mere crumbs from its resources by accepting a 50 percent profit oil take, out of which, it has agreed to pay the taxes of the oil companies.

The Opposition Member said, “…Initially, Guyanese were told, we would get 50% of the profits after royalty were shared and after current and pre-production expenses were deducted. The current and pre-production expenses before profit is determined will be allowed for up to 75% of the total revenue earnings.”

He added, “After that, Guyana gets 50% of anything determined to be profits. Given that Guyana must also pay all the accrued taxes, both company and income taxes and other taxes, like VAT, Guyana’s share is not really 50%. It is more like 34%. It is even less than that when the duty-free losses we will suffer are taken into consideration.”

The PPP member said it is terrifying enough that the Granger-led APNU+AFC has abused the Constitution and rendered Guyana a dictatorship. But what is equally troubling for Dr. Ramsammy is the state in which government’s “incompetence and cluelessness” has left Guyana’s budding oil industry.

In light of this, the official opined that the March 2020 elections will be about whether Guyanese will allow APNU+AFC to continue shafting the country.


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