THE Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GYEITI) is working to ensure it engages more Guyanese including civil society and local organizations regarding its mandate.
This is according to National Coordinator of the GYEITI, Dr Rudy Jadoopat, who spoke exclusively with the Guyana Chronicle last Thursday on the midday programme, Vantage Point.
“We have a lot more to do, quiet a lot more,” he said regarding engagement of the population in its work plans. “The trade unions, the media , the Opposition are all stakeholders in the process of transparency”, added.
To this end, he called on the public to help the process to be developed into something more “purposeful” for the country. As he pointed to outcomes and impacts of the GYEITI’s mandate, he said the information in the body’s first annual report, which was released earlier this year, would be meaningless if it does not engage the public. “One of the functions of the EITI secretariat is to get the message out there to the population,” he said.
Dr Jadoopat said the GYEITI is working to strengthen its awareness campaign. “We are looking forward to having more assistance in getting our reporting mechanism advanced and reporting facilities organized in such a way that we can have dissemination of our report and what the report data mean to a wide section of the population,” he said.
He said the school children, the professionals and the politicians, all “have to be spoken to in a different way” as he explained that the body wishes to package its material in a manner to satisfy various sections of its audience.
He said the GYEITI is fortunate to have the assistance of the Ministry of Natural Resources which has been funding several of its outreaches.
The GYEITI also receives international funding including from the Carter Center and the United States Agency for international Development (USAID) as well as the international secretariat of the EITI.
Dr Jadoopat zoomed in on the importance of transparency at this point in the development of Guyana’s oil and gas sector. “The issue of transparency helps to alleviate or reduce that level of corruption where the revenues coming in from the extraction, coming in from their resource-rich country not reaching the consolidated funds and is not being used to benefit all the citizens of the country,” he said.
He said the EITI standards encourage the government of the day to disclose all contracts as he made reference to the move of the APNU+AFC administration which fully disclosed the petroleum agreement which the government signed with American oil giant, Exxon Mobil.
“We are now informed, not everybody is satisfied but there are debates going on, and out of debates would come improvements, some kind of suggestion,” he said.
He said that transparency ensures that the benefits from the extractive industry flow and revenue streams are more transparent.
Last May, the GYEITI submitted its first report to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) international body, and Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, noted at the time, the government’s commitment to openness and transparency is strong.
In October 2017, the GYEITI was accepted under the wings of the EITI and the body has been working to satisfy the standards and principles set out by that body.