In an article which appeared in the media on August 13, it was reported that senior ministers in the APNU/AFC Government are on an official visit to the ExxonMobil Headquarters in Texas, USA — apparently to familiarize themselves with oil and gas matters as they relate to the development of oil fields off Guyana’s coast.
The ministers’ visit was treated as a state secret, as Guyanese are usually informed prior to any overseas visit of Govt. officials, and the reasons therefor. By design, however, no prior information was given to the public on this occasion.
This visit by a large contingent of Government ministers to the headquarters of ExxonMobil, a company with which the Government is conducting business, raises a number of troubling issues. Firstly, Guyanese would like to know who is picking up the expense tab for this costly group trip of Government officials?
Secondly, no technical professional accompanied the delegation to discuss such topics as production schedule, gas disposal, waste disposal after the crude is separated, etc; as much of this information is not incorporated in the contract agreement between the Government and ExxonMobil, which continues to be a state secret.
The APNU/AFC Government should be transparent and inform the people as to the reasons for this visit by its most senior ministers to ExxonMobil Headquarters in the USA; the topics which were discussed, and the agreements which were made, if any. This will assure Guyanese in no uncertain way that the Government is not “hand in glove” with ExxonMobil, a company which will soon be a large generator of much of Government’s revenues. After all, Guyanese should be conscious of the sharing and disappearance of oil extraction revenues by large overseas companies operating in Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and elsewhere in the world.