Eyewitness: Slithering out…

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…from oil giveaway

Global Witness just pulled back their Feb 2020 explosive report – “Signed Away” – on the contract Raphael Trotman signed away to Exxon back in June 2016. All the report had was to confirm what everyone in Guyana (and their uncle) – even hardened PNCites – had long concluded: Trotman had given away the store (of oil) and then some. Trotman, not surprisingly, immediately dashed off a letter to the press, insisting that he was now vindicated!!

What a joke! As far back as September, Global Witness had written that they had received communication from local environmental activists complaining that the “Signed Away” report had implicitly encouraged increased oil production. The activists argued that since the takeaway for most folks was that Guyana was going to lose US$55 billion over the production cycle of the field, Global Witness had tossed out their mandate to protect the environment – which production and consumption of fossil fuels damaged. The reason for withdrawing the report from their webpage and not using it in their programme was because they accepted the criticism.

At no point did they say they’re pulling the report because of its substantive content – which was scathing towards Trotman’s entire handling of the contract. After all, who in their right mind in this day and age would accept a piddling 2% Royalty when the going rate – even in beleaguered Africa – was 12%? Their detailed account of treacherous Trotman’s behaviour – from his accepting 5-Star hotel and restaurant accommodation and meals and being chauffeured around in limos to his inexplicable signing of the contract – was most damning.

On June 23, 2016, he’d emailed a consultant hired to advise the Government on oil and gas issues, saying Exxon had asked for an extension of some drilling leases that were set to expire. Trotman wrote that he saw it as an opportunity to revise some of the terms of the frontier 1999 agreement – which split profit oil 50-50 with an additional 1% royalty for the country. The consultant suggested allowing the contract to expire, then threatening to host a bidding process and a 10% royalty.

Another adviser suggested a 15% royalty and that he hire 10 or 20 experts on the renegotiation, not just the 1 he had. But unknown to either adviser, Trotman signed the new deal with Exxon four days later on June 27, 2016. He kept the 50-50 “frontier” 1999 profit sharing – after Exxon took 75% for its expenses. There was the piddling signing bonus of US$18 million – which was hidden away!

But your Eyewitness thinks Trotman in mired in his own BS. He reminded us that Global Witness had recommended an enquiry into his role in the signing.
The Govt should call his bluff!

…from nationalistic response

Yesterday, your Eyewitness awaited Opposition Leader Harmon’s response to the Venezuelan threat to our sovereignty. Harmon wasn’t very sanguine, so your Eyewitness wasn’t surprised at what was eventually issued. He’d specifically pointed out that Harmon and the PNC’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the PPP Government was one of the reasons that Maduro was emboldened to issue his decree claiming Essequibo and our oil. This is even as Maduro refuses to accept the legitimacy of the World Court, which is considering the Arbitral Award that set our boundary back in 1899.

While rejecting the Maduro Decree, Harmon careful parsed his context: “The APNU+AFC Coalition stands resolute and in solidarity with any reasonable action that the people of Guyana are likely to embark on to safeguard Guyana’s sovereignty.” Notice that? Harmon and his PNC say they’re standing by “the people” of Guyana – and NOT the Government, which was selected by the people to run the state.
The PNC can’t run with the hare and hunt with the hounds! A house divided…

…from local insurrection

While some are revelling in schadenfreude at the US’ democratic challenge, at least we must give them credit for prosecuting the invaders and impeaching Trump.
What’s doing with Granger and the W Berbice rioters?