Guyana last week participated in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) 2019 Global Conference and was lauded for the progress made since 2016 and also invited to be a member of a global network on contract transparency.
The conference was held in Paris, France under the theme ‘Open Data, Build Trust’. Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman led Guyana’s delegation which included Ministry of Natural Resources staffer Shondell France, National Director and Deputy Director of Guyana-Extractive Indus-tries Transparency Initia-tive (GY-EITI) Dr Rudy Jadoopat and Diane Barker respectively, government representative of the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) Gillian Pollard and civil society representative, Gomin Camacho.
A statement from the Ministry of Natural Resources said that the conference, from June 18-19, aimed to reinforce the importance of multi-stakeholder dialogue and openness in addressing challenges, provide an opportunity to discuss emerging trends and best practices in the good governance of natural resources, and examine the role of the EITI in the good management of the extractive sector, among others.
“At the conference, Guyana was lauded for its success and steady progress made since 2016 and invited to be a member of a global network on contract transparency that is being spearheaded by Mexico,” the ministry said.
The Guyana Government had been severely criticised for resisting the publication of the Production Sharing Agreement it clinched with ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, EEPGL in 2016. Following public pressure it released the agreement at the end of 2017 and it confirmed that there had been a secret signing bonus.
While at the conference, the delegation showcased Guyana’s progress towards EITI implementation at a Guyana country booth and during a country pitch session where members shared highlights from Guyana’s first EITI report, and fielded questions from the audience. The delegation also made good use of the opportunity to network with representatives from countries in the region as well as internationally, the statement said.
It revealed that Trotman was one of the main speakers at an Executive Session themed ‘Opening Contracts 2021 – Ensuring a Good Deal’. Other speakers at the event included Doto Biteko, the Minister of Mines, Tanzania and representatives from Indonesia and the Philippines as well as Total and Publish What You Pay.
During his remarks, Trotman noted some of the underlying challenges of contract disclosure and shared Guyana’s experience in this regard, the statement said.
“The Minister went on to state that though government was initially resistant to public disclosure of petroleum contracts particularly due to security and sovereignty concerns, in hindsight, the decision to do so was in the overall best interest of both the state and populace,” it added.
Trotman further emphasised the commitment of President David Granger and the government to open and better governance. He also highlighted the government’s continued quest to ensure that the tenets and principles of the EITI are firmly rooted in Guyana before ‘first oil’ in 2020, the statement said.
Guyana’s objective of pursuing an accelerated procedure for acceding to the EITI standard was affirmed by the Cabinet in November 2016 following on the discovery of petroleum and has progressed steadily with the formation of the MSG, the submission of an application for formal membership, the acceptance of that application, and most recently, the completion of the 1st country report for fiscal year 2017, the ministry observed.
“The Government of Guyana remains committed to promoting transparency in the natural resources sector for the benefit of all Guyanese and to supporting initiatives that build the capacity of stakeholders,” it said.