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Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC) and Member of Parliament Khemraj Ramjattan said the party predicted last year that Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s (GYEITIs) relationship with the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) will be in jeopardy and is likely to lead to its expulsion from that international watchdog body.
Speaking at a press conference last Friday, Ramjattan said the party felt then, as it still feels now, that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government had hardened its position in not wanting to live by the high standards of transparency which EITI sets for our extractive industries, namely, oil and gas, mining, forestry and fishing.
The Party said this disposition of controlling in absolute terms every sphere of activity in the entire spectrum of the country’s affairs was what informed its position.
Moreover, said the AFC, the non-renewal of economist Dr Rudy Jadupat’s contract as Director of the GYEITI Secretariat on the maliciously false ground that he was a member of the AFC; and, his replacement with long standing PPP propagandist Dr Prem Misir, added grist to the mill of the PPP’s control-freakism.
The party pointed out the Dr Jadupat-led Secretariat had assisted the Multi-Stakeholder Group and the Independent Administrator in the successful setting up of the GYEITI in 2017, and completion of three Reports, namely, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
When compared to the work of the Jadupat-led Secretariat, the Member of Parliament pointed out the Prem Misir Secretariat has led us into suspension.
Misir’s talents, said the party, reside not in transparency, nor in the operations of the various Protocols and Standards of EITI which demand transparency. “Indeed, he now has 4 months after the date of the suspension to still present the 2020 Report. Not doing so will see Guyana being ‘delisted’ from the international body. This, of course, will bring stinging rebukes to the Ali-led Administration and huge embarrassment to Guyana.”
The AFC said it was not surprised by President Ali’s exaggerated, camouflaged concern now that the suspension has happened. But what is worse, said the party leader, is Ali’s irrational response in planting blame on COVID and floods and two members of the Multi-Stakeholder Group, namely, Mc Cormack and Vanda Radzik. This is disgraceful and dangerous, declared Ramjattan, who also stated attacking two of the most prominent and active civil society members is plain suicidal.
EITI’s Standard makes it clear that each and every member of the Multi-Stakeholder Group must operate and express their opinion freely without fear, coercion or reprisal, stated the party.
As the AFC said last year, the Independent Administrator for the 4th Report, (i.e. for 2020), was hired in violation of EITI’s standard, at least in the eyes of these two members.
At the heart of the matter, said the party, which is now made clearer, was that the Terms of Reference of the Independent Administrator did not reflect that it must report on the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the previous (2019) GYEITI Report in the 2020 Report. “This was missing consequent upon an overlooking of same by the Prem Misir Secretariat.”
And that “‘overlooking’ itself has further questions and implications about it. And so, both civil society members had every right to speak their individual consciences to this issue, and to similarly vote thereon. On this sacred matter of their conscience, the President criticised and retaliated.”
Of course, stated Ramjattan, the flippant and flimsy COVID and Floods excuse for not completing the 2020 Report by 31st of December 2022 is a deception that must be frowned on. “It is just a continuation of the PPP’s journey to not only divide but, additionally, to divert and rule.”
Last Wednesday, February 22 Stabroek News broke the story of Guyana’s suspension from the EITI for failure to submit the country’s report for Year 2020. The newspaper also informed the government was made aware of the country’s status on February 17 but failed to make the information public.