ExxonMobil Guyana and Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo are now at clear loggerheads over potential conflict of interest concerns involving Nigel Hughes, the newly elected leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC) and a partner at the law firm Hughes, Fields & Stoby.

The concerns arose from Hughes’ dual roles as a political leader and partner at the firm which is a legal representative for ExxonMobil Guyana. Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, during his press conference last week had suggested that both Hughes and ExxonMobil might need to answer questions regarding their professional relationship. He had also underscored the potential for scrutiny, considering Hughes’ status as a politically exposed person.

ExxonMobil Guyana’s President, Alistair Routledge, today defended the company’s adherence to all local and international laws. His defence came during a media event, where ExxonMobil showcased its capping stack, an essential safety feature for its offshore drilling operations.

Responding to questions posed by a reporter about Hughes’ political role and its potential conflict with his law firm’s relationship with ExxonMobil, Routledge emphasized the company’s commitment to legal compliance. “We comply with all laws and regulations here and internationally. So we don’t believe we have any conflict of interest, any issues,” he stated, dismissing concerns about the integrity of their operations.

However, the Vice President seemingly does not agree with this contention and has made it clear that the oil company will be hearing from his government soon. When questioned by local media house, Demerara Waves regarding Routledge’s comment this morning Jagdeo said, “It was no surprise that the representatives of Exxon took the position that Nigel Hughes is not in conflict with ExxonMobil.”

Hughes, when questioned by the media last week had expressed a willingness to sever ties with ExxonMobil if he assumes a significant governmental role. The AFC leader said he welcomes any investigation into his relationships with oil companies, indicating that such a probe could uncover valuable information. “I welcome any probe, investigation, or Commission of Inquiry that Mr. Jagdeo wants to initiate between Exxon and myself. There is a lot of information that may come out that I think would be very useful, and I welcome it. I certainly welcome it,” he said.

The Vice President stated that it is clear that both Exxon and Hughes would have similar positions as they appear to be in cohorts. “Why would you (Exxon) want to get rid of the leader of a political party in Parliament who is on your payroll ,who has publicly stated that he will put Exxon’s interest above that of Guyana?,” Jagdeo questioned.

Amid the varying positions on the matter however, Jagdeo has made one thing clear— that the oil company will not escape scrutiny. “Exxon will hear from the Government of Guyana at the appropriate time and place on this matter,” he said.


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