..Department of Energy rejects Kaieteur News article
Oil Consultant Dr. Michael Warner, who was hired to complete Guyana’s draft Local Content Policy was hired by the government following a fair and transparent process.
This was reiterated by Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe in a release issued by the Ministry of the Presidency this evening.He rejected the claims published in Friday’s edition of the Kaieteur News that Dr. Warner, who was hired to complete Guyana’s draft Local Content Policy, is employed by ExxonMobil.
Dr Bynoe first commented on the issue a press conference recently when the question was posted to him by the newspaper. He clarified at that forum that Dr Warner was working along with the department on the key petroleum policy document.
In the article titled, “Sole sourced or open tender? Questions surface over contract awarded to ExxonMobil’s employee” the paper stated on Friday that “Dr. Warner is an employee of DAI, the contractor engaged by ExxonMobil to manage the Local Content Centre for Development”.
“The Department rejects this statement as false, noting that it is yet another indication that the Kaieteur News rushed to publication instead of first checking its facts”, the statement said.
“Dr. Warner is not an employee of ExxonMobil. Dr. Warner was at the time contracted with DAI, which is a huge consultancy firm, and he was doing some work with DAI, [which] has been contracted with ExxonMobil to assist with the establishment of the Centre for Local Business Development here. Since Dr. Warner has started this … local content process with us he has severed links with DAI. In fact, he is doing just part-time work with DAI and other individuals, and as a result of that we are comfortable that we are getting value for money where Dr. Warner is concerned,” Dr. Bynoe said.
The Director said he is perturbed by the Kaieteur News article as the paper had posed this same question to him at the Department of Energy’s press conference hosted on May 3, 2019 and he believed that he had addressed it then. In fact, at that event Kaieteur News Journalist asked:
“…there have been some concerns about the fact that an ExxonMobil specialist, Michael Warner is the one leading the review of the document. Could you say whether the Energy Department is concerned about this in terms of ensuring that the provisions are in keeping with the best interest of the country?”
Dr Bynoe’s verbatim response was: “…Let me first say that he is not an ExxonMobil specialist. He is a local content specialist whose expertise has been used by a multiplicity of entities inclusive of ExxonMobil. Guyana is utilizing his services and we have hired him based on a competitive process where, like other consultants, he had the opportunity to have his CV submitted to us. It was sent to the World Bank [which] is financing this project and we are confident that we are currently getting value for money.”
Additionally, the Director rejected the ambiguities in the paper’s questions about the hiring process for the post. He noted that Dr. Warner was selected as the best candidate to execute the project from among a total of three applications, following a limited competitive selection process, which is in keeping with World Bank regulations.
“Well, I first would like to clarify that there are many tendering processes that can be used to expedite a particular contract. In this case, we used what is termed a limited competitive selection of individual consultants which is consistent with the World Bank’s regulations of July 2016 which was revised in November 2017 and further in August 2018 – Item 7.38. This would allow since it’s an individual consultancy, for us to use a three-CV process and to assess the consultants based on their expertise and qualification, as well as their ability to deliver. This is the process which was followed. After we would have gone through the three CVs, there would have been an evaluation report completed which had to then go to the World Bank for their non-objection and based on that Dr. Warner was selected as the best candidate to execute this consultancy. So there was no issue of sole sourcing,” Dr. Bynoe said.
Dr. Bynoe further noted that both the Ministry and the Department of Energy views the media as a partner in this new industry and in disseminating information to the public not only about what oil and gas would mean for their futures, but how those revenues would be allocated and spent for future development.
As such, he expressed the hope that the media would utilise the avenues of communication with the Department available to them to make enquires before rushing to publication.