Letter: The misinformation on oil and gas must stop

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Flashback- The fuel hose leads from the Liza Destiny to the Cap Philippe for the transfer of Guyana’s first million barrels of crude

Dear Editor,

Journalism must be factual and have evidence to support its contentions. It should be as balanced and truthful as possible, especially when reporting on Guyana’s journey to develop its oil and gas sector.

Sadly, some sections of the media are failing to meet the standard of journalism expected of investigative and focused journalists.

Recently, there was an article that got my attention. It was about the oil and gas sector, and the newspaper was attributing all of its information to a particular source. There was no comprehensive analysis done, with no other side or person to be quoted on the issue being reported. I was blindsided by the poor investigative work done, and the generalisation of the issues related to costs, debts, and expenses of Guyana in the oil and gas sector.

As I was penning my complaint about the body of work, which contained several pieces of misleading statements, untruths and fallacies, lo and behold, Vice President Mr Bharrat Jagdeo was addressing the same article in his press conference on Monday.
Jagdeo debunked the claim that every citizen owes ExxonMobil $9 million.

“The only debts that this country has to repay are debts contracted or guaranteed by the state, and I told you already that’s only 16 percent of GDP. No debt contracted by Exxon or any of these companies (is) guaranteed, or we are party… so you don’t have to pay [the citizens of this country],” he stated.

He also dismissed the claim that these debts have to be repaid before Guyana can receive any funds.

“So that’s not true again, because if you look at even the original agreement that was signed since 1999, you will see that there is a cut-off point for cost recovery from revenue of 75 percent. So, 75 percent of revenue goes to cost recovery, including servicing and everything else, and 25 percent from day one becomes available as profit oil, of which we will get 12 and a half percent and then a two-percentage point as royalty, which gives us about 14.5 percent from day one.”

These sensational and misleading media reports must stop immediately. The media must understand the dangers they pose to development by their false or misleading reporting. I call on the media to be responsible and factual when reporting.
All for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Alvin Hamilton