By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
No longer will the Parliamentary Opposition be contented with the “informal” meetings that it has been afforded by ExxonMobil, reportedly hinged on the instruction of Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said as much yesterday during his weekly press conference.
Jagdeo told the media that he had a meeting with ExxonMobil Country Manager, Rod Henson two weeks ago. At that meeting “I indicated that I have seen Trotman telling people on the ground that Jagdeo is fully briefed, because he has directed ExxonMobil to give me regular briefings, and so I said to him (Henson) that from September, I would like the briefings to be a bit more formal.”
Jagdeo said that other members of the Opposition will be included in the “formal” meetings. These members will include those who are in parliament and others “who have an interest in the sector.”
The politician made it clear that questions will be asked of ExxonMobil because “we are not dummies.”
The Opposition leader said that when they get answers to pressing questions from ExxonMobil, they will then share it with the public. He however acknowledged the possibility that even in the formal meetings; ExxonMobil might not be forthcoming with the information requested.
“They always claim, you have to go to the government to get certain information”
Jagdeo said that there are several things that “we would like to ask and then have it formally on record.”
He said that the meeting held two weeks ago, “was good.”
“We discussed a number of issues, the same sort of issues relating to the environment and on the Local Content, but I would prefer this be done in a formal setting rather than a courtesy call.”
Jagdeo expressed concern that “Our government has gone silent.”
He said he told ExxonMobil, “We do not hear from the government, they are not telling us anything. We want to know if they are satisfied with the measures being taken to protect the environment. We want to know if they think we are prepared for an oil spill. Because, I am of the firm opinion that the burden of any oil spill must not be carried on the backs of Guyanese. The burden must be borne by the company. That is my view.