Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo Tuesday night condemned the Global Witness report that concludes that the 2016 ExxonMobil deal amounts to a US$55 billion giveaway, instead saying that government fast-tracked negotiations to prevent the company from pulling out due to Venezuela’s claim.
Nagamootoo criticised Global Witness’ call for a suspension of oil production to pave the way for renegotiation of the contract. He cautioned against demanding more money because the country risked the investors walking away.
Addressing a general election campaign meeting at Plum Park, Sophia, he sought to justify the signing of the agreement expeditiously because of Guyana’s need to preserve its territorial sovereignty in the face of Venezuela’s aggression. “We stood up and we decided that we would have to negotiate and negotiate quickly before the oil company pull out from Guyana. We knew that we were under threat and they gave us a cash signing bonus of US$18 million so that we take the best lawyers in the world to defend our territory, to defend our land, to defend our oil and gas resources,” Nagamootoo said in a fiery speech.
Government, in a statement, says it “maintains its position that there were geo-political and national security imperatives which could not be ignored. The report deliberately seeks to trivialize the national security and sovereignty of Guyana.”