By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) and Executive Members of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Joseph Harmon has expressed the view that the pull out by Muri Brazil Ventures Inc – the company authorized to conduct Permission for Geographical and Geophysical Survey (PGGS) in the New River Triangle – from further exploration activities is no loss to Guyana.
According to him, it is more of a gain for the country since it will mean the further “preservation of a part of natural resources that would have gone in a deal that wasn’t totally transparent.”
Harmon was one of the persons from the opposition benches who became very critical of the permission granted for survey in the area after it was made known by the subject Minister, Robert Persaud during a meeting of the Sectorial Committee on Natural Resources.
In fact, he credited the Media, the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and the Political Opposition for causing Muri Brazil to scrap the deal.
“As I see it, the action of the company was based on exposure of the quality of the transaction between itself and Ministry of Natural Resources,” Harmon told iNews on Monday, January 6.
Muri Brazil announced on Saturday that on December 30, 2013, the company made a decision to no longer pursue its geographical and geophysical survey under the PGGS granted by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
“Although the process was legal and transparent, this decision is due to the misinformation, prejudice and hostility to this proposed survey by persons and agencies which are fostering an adverse investment climate In Guyana” the company said in a statement.
Harmon had raised several objections to the survey which ranged from lack of transparency to breaches in obligations under the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) among others. But despite the rejections of these claims by the Minister and Muri Brazil, the MP has not changed his position.
He told iNews that the Minister’s stewardship of the Ministry is now called into question.
“The fact that the Minister felt he could have given the sectorial committee information that wasn’t correct and think it was ok, speaks to a mindset that is thrown over from the period before 2011 where Ministers felt they could provide information and nobody would check it,” Harmon said, adding that “We have a new dispensation and apart from this we have a more embolden society, people who are now prepared to provide information and stand up for what they think is right.”
He maintains that the pull out is no loss to Guyana, despite opposing views from his counterparts in the government.
Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh is of the view that the decision by Muri Brasil is the latest example of the harm being inflicted on Guyana’s developmental prospects by APNU and the Alliance for Change (AFC) by their attack against investors.
Harmon rejected such assertion in its totality. Speaking more specifically to Muri Brazil he said, “I don’t know they were an investor, I know the company was granted permission under suspicious circumstances and by their own admission spent no more than US$100,000… we don’t know in fact what is the capacity of the company to do the things that they were supposed to do under the PGGS.”
Meanwhile, Minister Persaud is yet to say anything on the scraped deal. He maintained in the past however, that the conditions under which the survey was granted was transparent, that any possible exploration activity in the area would not have affected the Guyana/Norway agreement.
He believes too that the much talk around the issue was unnecessary and intended to whip up an environmental scare.