During its probe of the negotiations Guyana’s officials had with ExxonMobil for the Stabroek Block, international corruption fighting body, Global Witness, said that it was not able to unearth any hardcore evidence of corruption. But one key question still remained unanswered—Why on earth would anyone sign away Guyana’s oil without knowing its true value?

This very question was raised by Global Witness Investigator, Jonathan Gant during an interview on Kaieteur Radio. There, the Senior Campaigner said while no corruption was found, the organization has three bits of compelling evidence which confirm that Minister Trotman did not make every effort to secure the best deal for Guyana.

He said, “There are three bits of evidence that we have got and the most compelling has to do with the timing.”

The Global Witness official reminded that during negotiations, Trotman knew that Exxon was analyzing a new possible oil find—Liza Two. Gant said, “Trotman even thought the company would announce its results on a specific day: June 28 2016. He said, “But the Minister did not wait for these results, which would have allowed Guyana to assess Stabroek’s true value and which turned out to be one of the world’s largest recent finds. Instead, on June 27, Trotman signed Exxon’s license.”

Gant added, “Why on earth would anybody sign away the country’s biggest asset before knowing the true value of it? That just strikes me as extraordinary…”

Further to this, the official noted that Trotman asked for expert advice which indicated that he should await more information but he ignored same.

The Senior Campaigner said, “Advice was given to say ‘let’s figure out what is fair deal’ and that advice was ignored. The third bit of evidence we got was the terms he asked for and those terms were weak. He asked for a two percent royalty and didn’t ask for more than a 50 percent take of the profit oil. He also asked for a million here and a million there.”

Gant said that the fiscal terms are poor when one adds Guyana’s take and Exxon’s share. “So despite government saying that it got something fair, I don’t think Guyana got what it deserves,” the Global Witness Investigator concluded.


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