Art of sophistry

Truth becomes collateral damage to expediency when political leaders, members of civil society, and others in any society blatantly practise the art of sophistry. Lies will always precipitate preconditions to eventual catastrophe. It behooves every citizen of the land who expects veracity in the leaders they have chosen, if they are in possession of facts, to expose any duplicitous statements or actions; hence one should feel constrained to expose persons who reconstruct facts to suit agendas inimical to the national welfare.
Incorrect information was fed to the public, and is still circulating in the public domain, which indicated that, in 1999, then President Bharrat Jagdeo had amended the Petroleum Act so as to ensure that the ExxonMobil contract could not be released to the public. This pronouncement is a complete fabrication. Neither President Jagdeo nor any other PPP President has ever amended the Act to prevent disclosure of contractual terms.
At a press conference, then Minister Patterson, supported by Khemraj Ramjattan and other AFC officials, also told the Guyanese public that there were no remaining un-assigned oil blocks because Dr Bharrat Jagdeo had already distributed all to favoured awardees. Again, this was palpably untrue, as can be deduced by the following facts.
A release of the list of concessions exposed the malicious fabrications and revealed that, of the existing concessions, none had been given out by the Jagdeo administration.
Further compounding the erroneous claims, in a section of the media, that minister in the former PNC Cabinet, in another act of deception, further duplicitously claimed that all the offshore blocks were gone, and that was what he was referring to. This was another falsehood, which was debunked by the publication of the map by the GGMC, which indicated the offshore blocks that were yet available.
ExxonMobil was given blocks by the late President Janet Jagan in 1999. Eight were given by former President Donald Ramotar, to wit: Mid Atlantic-2015; CGX 2012-2013; Repsol-2013; Retio-2015; Anadarko-2012; Energy-2013; Nabi–2012.
The tenth one was given under the Granger Presidency by then Minister Trotman to Tullow Eco. Based on documents released by GGMC, there still remained several unallocated blocks.
All of the blocks allocated by PPP Presidents were properly issued; as a result of which ExxonMobil invested millions of dollars, which led to the discovery of oil.
Constant misrepresentation of the facts only propagates falsehoods about the oil and gas industry. One glaring instance is the lie that has been exposed – time and again, that is yet repeated by Coalition leaders and reprinted in one particular print media – is Trotman’s allegation in Parliament that Dr Jagdeo and the PPP gave out all of the productive land in the forestry sector, which was refuted by Jagdeo, who elucidated, “The fact is that about fifty-five per cent of the state forest has been given out so far in our history. It’s about seven million hectares out of 12.5 million hectares; and out of that 55 per cent, just about 40 percent is under extraction. Of the (millions of) hectares that were given out, almost half was given out in the pre-1992 era. Barama alone had 1.7 million hectares.”
Guyanese have been subjected to allegations that proved completely false in most instances, which were fabricated for political and self-serving agendas, but which were believed because they are so often repeated to gullible loyalists of political constructs, who are always on the ready to rampage and create mayhem in the country.
The discovery of oil has catapulted this country to a height that is on the cusp of inexorable progress, with great potential for individual and national social development and economic growth, but the destructive, counter-productive forces are intent on stymieing Guyana’s growth paradigm.
The PPP/C’s decision to grant oil and gas concessions has fructified in discovery of oil. And, despite claims to the contrary, its transactions have been through good processes.