General Secretary of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) and Leader of the Opposition Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has responded in a strongly worded statement to what his party dubs as the “massive lies and misinformation” being peddled on the part of the coalition Government in relation to Minister David Patterson’s claim that “Jagdeo gave out all the oil blocks.”
See the PPP’s full statement below:
Ministers of the Coalition Government continue to peddle massive lies and misinformation unashamedly and with impunity. They continue to get the Kaieteur News to sensationalize these lies with blazing headlines on the front pages of the newspapers. All with the intention to fool, mislead and insult the intelligence of the public.
So today, the bold headline of Kaieteur News read, “JAGDEO GAVE OUT ALL OIL BLOCKS, ‘THERE IS NOTHING LEFT’ – DAVID PATTERSON”.
Minister Patterson was responding to disclosures made by Opposition Leader, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo that a corrupt plot is afoot by friends and families of Ministers and other officials of the coalition government to acquire available petroleum-mining blocks, (which now have significant value with the discovery of oil in Guyana) which they intend to immediately resell on the international market.
Firstly, we comprehensively reject the ridiculous contention of Minister Patterson that they are no available petroleum-mining blocks. Ministers have a responsibility to go to press conferences with a sober head and equip themselves with facts in relation to matters upon which they intend to speak and must refrain from vocally emitting every bizarre thought that comes to their minds.
The truth of the matter is that there are many more petroleum-mining blocks available. Only recently, Minister Raphael Trotman referred to the existence of these petroleum-mining blocks when he spoke about how new oil and gas exploration and production licences should be granted. He said, “Whether we go openly and publicly with international bids, or whether we have quiet and private discussions, will be determined by the national interest.” Without more, Trotman’s assertion by themselves prove that Patterson is lying. Moreover, everyone who has some familiarity with the sector knows that they are several petroleum-mining blocks available.
However, if Patterson has correctly expressed the position of the Government, then we call upon the Government to make public a list of all the petroleum-mining blocks, the names of the persons or companies to whom they have been allocated and the date of allocation. This disclosure will alert the public to the fact that no new petroleum-mining blocks can be allocated in the near future.
This is the same strategy of lying, which we recently witnessed by the Government when they misled the nation for several months by claiming that they cannot disclose the ExxonMobil contract because they are prevented from doing so by a law passed by the Jagdeo Administration. We unmasked this lie two weeks ago. Not a word has come from the Government since.
The nation will recall the same level of gigantic lying by Trotman in the National Assembly when he made the outrageous claim the 100% of productive forest was shared out before 2015. Again, we were able to debunk this lie by showing that the largest mass of Guyana’s productive forest remains intact; that more than 50% of what was actually allocated were done by PNC Governments before 1992, and that forest lands distributed under PPP Governments benefited 73 community forest organisations, which provided tens of thousands of jobs for Guyanese of all walks of life. Yet, Kaieteur News repeats the lie of Trotman in their article today, without any reference to our response.
We ask that you note that after this lie of Patterson that all the petroleum-mining blocks have been given away is now debunked, you will not hear another word of it from the Government until another massive lie is unleashed on the nation, which again, will be sensationalized by a Kaieteur News front page headline. However, when the lie is unmasked it will not be carried by Kaieteur News at all, or if carried, it will be hidden in some obscure corner of the newspaper. This has long been the ploy of that news outfit.
We will not be responding to any statements made by Minister Ramjattan at the AFC’s press conference yesterday. However, we will be recommending to the President that a policy be implemented barring Ministers of the Government from attending press conferences in an inebriated state.