Civil Society group, Policy Forum Guyana has raised questions about the inclusion of British Parliamentarian David Lammy, and Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Carolyn Rodrigues as Directors on the Natural Resource Fund Board
In a release, Policy Forum Guyana (PFG) said while it welcomes the long-delayed appointment of the Board of Directors of the Natural Resources Fund (NRF, the appointments of two of the board’s directors cannot be overlooked.
As it relates to UK, Parliamentarian Lammy, the group was quick to point out that the question of conflict of interest arises.
“Mr. David Lammy is the Shadow Foreign Secretary in the UK Parliament who by virtue of his oath of office is committed to be loyal to the Queen and her successors. The extractive industries of Guyana – for example, mining, fisheries, forestry and petroleum – have historically served economic development of the industrialized world – the UK in particular. How Mr. Lammy MP intends to avoid a conflict of interest between sustaining this flow of benefits to the UK while also managing the NRF to ensure “the present and future benefit of the people’ of Guyana (opening statement of the Act) is a serious matter,” the group noted.
On the other hand the group noted that Ms. Rodrigues’ appointment to the NRF board while still employed as an Ambassador for Guyana is also problematic.
“The reality of Guyana’s foreign policy nowadays in relation to the extractive sector is skewed by its focus on ‘prosperity’, prioritizing relations with the likes of the UAE, Qatar and other oil-rich States with disreputable human right records and a wholly irresponsible approach to squandering oil wealth. In contrast, her role on the NRF Board should encourage relations with countries whose experience with extractive wealth is more in line with meeting Guyana’s needs – robust democracy, independence and transparency in the workings of the NRF,” the group said.
“Where Mr. Lammy may be challenged by relations with old exploiters, Ms. Rodrigues’ challenge will be with new ones,” the group added.
The group said although non-residence in Guyana is not in itself disqualifying, Non-resident appointments can be justified if they bring outstanding competence not available locally.
The Natural Resource Fund Board will be in charge of overlooking the spending of Guyana’s oil wealth. There are five members on the board including the Chairman. Three of the members, including Lammy and Rodrigues were nominated by the President.