GUYANA: Award of Canje, Kaieteur blocks must face independent forensic probe – Ramon Gaskin

Map showing the Kaieteur and Canje blocks, in proximity to the Stabroek block.

Kaieteur News – Ramon Gaskin said that the suspicious awards of the Canje and Kaieteur oil blocks leading up to the 2015 general and regional elections, must face the scrutiny of independent forensic experts in an official investigation. He said that an expert team would allow Guyana to identify all those who are guilty of corrupt practices so that they may be prosecuted.           

Activist, Ramon Gaskin.

The activist addressed the matter during last Tuesday’s edition of Kaieteur Radio’s Petroleum 101.
“I really do believe that the matter is of such importance to this country, and the losses we have suffered as a result of this improper way of doing business, that we have to bring in forensic people,” Gaskin told Kaieteur Radio.

He said that the blocks should never have been awarded to anyone just before the 2015 elections, and that former Minister of Natural Resources, Robert Persaud, and former President Donald Ramotar should come clean about what really happened and who benefitted from these awards.

Gaskin believes that the awards were not legally done, as to receive such licences, companies are suppose to satisfy the government of their capabilities, assets and finances to acquire and develop the blocks.

He called on persons who have information about these transactions to come forward and allow themselves to be interrogated.
“We need proper people to do that work,” Gaskin said. “We need serious investigative and forensic people.”

He does not believe that the current Irfaan Ali regime would open an investigation into anything done under the former Ramotar administration because they are all from the same party, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).

“They don’t operate like that,” he explained. “The PPP does not operate like that. In simple language, ‘them is they people’.”

Ramotar had recommended an independent investigation into the controversy, in a letter, in 2018. Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo also said that he would support an independent probe into the matter, while in Opposition last year. However, the Vice President now in power is yet to address the matter.
The two blocks are now collectively estimated to hold 7.1 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The circumstances under which they were awarded likely forfeited hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars in signing bonuses.

A Kaieteur News review of major corruption red flags in extractives deals, as listed by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), has shown that several apply to the Canje, Kaieteur situation. Global Witness also noted in a report it released earlier this year that there are worrying red flags, and recommended a probe. NRGI also has said that the red flags are tools that should be used to inquire further into what really happened.

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The Bigger Picture-  Oct 16, 2020  Front Page Comment, KaieteurNews


Kaieteur News – We thank the PPP/C government for the removal of the VAT on electricity and water and for the free water for pensioners. We thank the PPP/C for the $25,000 COVID-19 cash grant and the small increase in old-age pensions. When we did an approximation of all these relief measures, the average monthly savings does not exceed G$10,000.

Though citizens are thankful, they should not be so carried away as to lose sight of the bigger picture.

And it is regarding this bigger picture that we call, again, on President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo to come clean.

The Canje and Kaieteur blocks have been given away in secret deals to middle-men. We call on Dr. Ali and Mr. Jagdeo to come clean about these secret deals.

It is nice to give needy Guyanese about G$10,000 but those billions of US dollars that belong to Guyana could make all Guyanese self-sufficient and better-off.
Guyanese get chicken feed, while crooked leaders get to keep the billions in US dollars from their giveaway of the whole chicken farm.

Guyanese must decide whether they are happy with this state of affairs and will stay quiet or whether they will seethe with rage at being cheated by leaders from both sides of the political divide. Citizens should not settle for handouts. They must call for their just share of the country’s patrimony. They must demand accountability and transparency. More importantly, they must press for the billions to which they are entitled.

Guyanese must remember that it was only after persistent efforts of the press and individuals that the Coalition agreed to release the hideous 2016 Contract which Trotman signed in secret. They must remember too that it was determination that finally exposed the Signing Bonus which the Coalition hid away from the people of the country. We are better and wiser now. And more determined

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Comments

  • Linda  On October 17, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Mr. Gaskin the government of the day will never initiate a probe in this matter. How can they when so many members of the PPP are involved. Take whatever is being said by Ali and Jagdeo with a grain of salt. It’s just talk!!!

  • Dennis Albert  On October 17, 2020 at 1:37 pm

    Many of these oil companies are backed by the guns and nuclear weapons of the ABCE countries.

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