Ahead of a full disclosure of the contract between the Government of Guyana and US oil giant ExxonMobil, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman on Friday confirmed that Exxon would be giving financial assistance to Guyana to aid in its legal fees in the border row with Venezuela.
News Source had earlier reported on the issue.
Trotman said those who have criticised the government will be disappointed to realize that nothing was hidden as is being pontificated by the political opposition.
The government had denied in the past that it had received a signing bonus from ExxonMobil.
Trotman reported to the House that the government received monies from ExxonMobil to protect the safety and wellbeing of Guyanese while reminding of an incident in 2000 when a foreign exploration company was chased from Guyana’s waters.
He told the House that the PPP government at the time was advised to accept monies from the company to aid in work in defending Guyana’s right and it did just that.
Similarly, he said the coalition government accepted the same advice and did what it had to do to preserve safety.
“If we are to be blamed, we will accept blame for doing what is right… yes there is a sum and yes, it is reserved to safeguard this country,” he said.
Trotman said he was personally not ashamed and was relieved that the facts are coming out and said government ought to be afforded rights of respect for doing what is right.
He said the government is depending on two international law firms, one from Norway and another from the United States.
He believes that the leak of the bank documents appear to have been organized to cause embarrassment but the government was not ashamed or afraid of any attempt to cause it to cower in fear.
Trotman said he believed the original contract with Exxon was a good one, but the renegotiation now sees Guyana receiving 2% royalty on the gross when there was none before.
That amounts to US$380 million annually.
The Minister said the contract also includes US$300,000 per annum for scholarships and US$300,000 for corporate social responsibility projects. under the latter, the government recently received monies to assisted hurricane-ravaged sister CARICOM countries.
In 2020, first revenue from oil will come on stream and Trotman said the government continues to put systems in place to fight off curses and corruption.
He said oil is the change Guyana needs as its century old engines are failing with a need for economic drivers to be changed.