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Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC) and Member of Parliament, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, has called on the Government to make public all large scale mining contracts, and condemned the absence of transparency in this regard. “Guyana as a country nor her countrymen will not benefit from such concealment but only the corrupt few who are friends, family and favourites of the PPP [People’s Progressive Party].”
Bemoaning the absence of transparency in the extractive industry Ramjattan said withholding scrutiny from the Parliamentary Natural Resources Sectorial Committee is especially important. The AFC pointed out that to date the committee has not met since the installation of the Government.
Parliamentary committees allow for review, ensuring the system of check and balance, and holding elected and government officials accountable. The Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) has complained committees they head have not met due to a government putting mechanism to ensure no meeting.
According to Ramjattan since the removal of Dr. Rudy Jadopat, Head of Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GY-EITI), the PPP Government has hardened its position to disassociate from the global body, not wanting to live by the high standards it sets.
Member “countries commit to disclose information along the extractive industry value chain – from how extraction rights are awarded, to how revenues make their way through government and how they benefit the public. Through participation…countries have agreed to a common set of rules governing what has to be disclosed and when – the EITI Standard.”
Last February the PPP removed Jadopat from the position of National Coordination which was met with much public criticism. He was appointed in February 2017.
Ramjattan also pointed out Guyana could face expulsion from the transparency body for failing to submit its reports, the next of which is due on December 31, but from all indications the government would be unable to meet the deadline.
“The 4th report of the GYEITI is due on December 31, 2022 and from all appearances that report is nowhere near completion by the new boss Dr. Prem Misir and his team.”
It was pointed out at the party’s Friday press conference that to date the government has not hired a proper independent administrator.
According to the party leader “rather, the Minister of National Resources bypassed the multi stakeholder group (MSG) which ought to have prepared and approved the terms of reference for the procurement of independent administrative service and appointed the services of 2021 administrator BDOLLP without any international tender process.” This handpicking he said is a violation of EITI standards.
The party fears Misir’s inexperience and incapacity in the area Guyana is likely to be expelled for several violations by the international body EITI.
Misir is the holder of a Ph.D (University of Hull), MPH (University of Manchester), M.Phil (University of Surrey), BSc (Honours) (Queen’s University of Belfast (with Postdoctoral work in Public Health at Columbia University).
Jadopat has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in Economics, specialising in International Economic Relations, from Moscow State University, and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) Degree in Economics, from the University of Guyana.
Given the qualifications and proven competencies of the two, the AFC wants Misir to be relieved of his duties and Jadopat be reinstated to the position.
“Dr. Misir should tender his resignation or be fired and every effort be made to reinstate the services of Dr. Jadopat who successfully set up and made operational GYEITI (local chapter) for the previous three years.”