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…believes recent withdrawal of report no coincidence
With Global Witness withdrawing its ‘Signed Away’ report due to “overestimation” on the US$55B it claimed Guyana lost in a bad ExxonMobil deal, former Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, who was among those blamed for the deal, has accused the organisation of allowing itself to be used to influence Guyana’s elections.
On Monday, Global Witness said that it removed the report from its website and will stop using it in its campaign work because of “overestimation[s]” within. It also apologized for the “unintended negative consequences” the report may have caused.
The report had theorized that Trotman, who signed the Exxon deal in June 2016, may have been compromised, even though it admitted that there was no proof of this. The report was released in February, just before the March 2020 General and Regional Elections.
“I take note of Global Witness’ self-confessed ‘over-estimation’ of projected oil production, the sole basis upon which their criticisms were levelled. The timing of the release of the report, a mere month before the General and Regional Elections of March 2, 2020, was neither coincidental nor without deliberate purpose. It is now established, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Global Witness allowed itself to be used to further political and economic interests prior to Guyana’s 2020 elections,” Trotman said in a statement released on Monday evening.
He stated that the report had been “severely critical” of the agreement between the Government of Guyana and ExxonMobil and its partners; of him specifically; of several former Cabinet members and of former President David Granger.
He deemed the withdrawal of the Global Witness report, which made its run in the media for several months, as “convenient” now that the elections are over.
Trotman stated: “This is shameful and repugnant and constitutes subversive political interference in the affairs of a sovereign state’s electoral process in seeking to influence the outcome of an election. This is against all tenets of sovereignty, non-interference, decency, fairness and balance. Unfortunately, the damage has been done and the ‘Economic Hit Men’ get to go off sipping tea and laughing at another dirty deed accomplished.”
The former Minister, now Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), said that he is ready to assist in any investigation into the matter.