The withdrawal of the report, “Signed Away”, by the Global Witness (GW) organisation saw a swift response by Raphael Trotman in the media. The protagonist sought to use this event as a reason that precipitated the fall of the Granger government. He also used this to downplay his role in that sordid affair that allegedly saw Guyana losing US$55 billion in Exxon’s oil deal.
I contacted the Director of GW to seek clarification regarding the reasons for the withdrawal, and inquired if GW had changed its premises in that “Signed Away” report (except for the overestimation (oil money) benefits to Guyana). GW has affirmed that it stands by the integrity of the evidence presented, and stands by the fiscal model produced by OpenOil, which was commissioned by that environmental/human rights body. GW is an apolitical organisation whose mission is to point out ecological and human rights abuses by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system.
It is preposterous to surmise that the “Signed Away” report was orchestrated as a tool to bring down the Granger government, as alluded to by Trotman.
Of particular interest to the Guyanese people is what Trotman said regarding the oil revenues (with Exxon). The report states that “Trotman also told Global Witness that getting maximum revenues from Exxon was not the Government’s main aim, and the country needed Exxon to help protect its borders from Venezuela”. (Hmmm – getting maximum revenue from Exxon not a priority??)
According to the GW report, Trotman undertook “a lavish trip to the (Exxon) company’s Texas headquarters, complete with a first-class flight, a stay at an expensive hotel, and a meal at an exclusive restaurant”, and that Exxon’s internal policy prohibits gifts that may “improperly influence pending business decisions.” The report concludes that, “Trotman may have had a conflict of interest during the deal, because his political ally, Nigel Hughes, was a lawyer for Exxon. His firm has represented the company since 2009, but Hughes denies he worked on the Stabroek oil reserve deal.”
Mr Trotman seeks to have an investigation (into his role) in the oil agreement(s), and claims that such an investigation “will receive my full and unequivocal support.” Let the investigation commence; the Guyanese people want to know how they lost US$55 billion!
Dr Devanand Bhagwan