Being the Opposition’s shadow minister with responsibility for the oil and gas sector in the National Assembly, one would expect David Patterson to be au fait with the details of the Opposition leader Joseph Harmon’s promised oil and gas press conference.
However, it appears as if Patterson was left in the dark, as he seemed unsure on whether Harmon would be upholding his commitment, at all.
It has been more than a month since that promise was made by Harmon and to date, there has been no word on when that press conference would be held.
Kaieteur News, for weeks on end, chronicled articles on the shoddy awards of the two lucrative assets that were signed away by the Donald Ramotar administration under rather questionable circumstances. The newspaper sought answers from those in high office.
Back in October, Kaieteur News posed questions to Harmon about who the beneficial owners of the blocks are.
He had committed to passing on the questions to the Member of Parliament with responsibility for natural resources to see how they may assist. Consequently, he explained, information may be shared in an upcoming oil and gas press conference to be held by the Coalition.
“We will have a specific press conference on oil and gas,” he had said, “and at that time, the question will be answered once it is posed.”
Asked yesterday at an Alliance For Change (AFC) press briefing if he was aware of the intended conference, Patterson said, “I have read it but unfortunately, I have not engaged the Leader of the Opposition so obviously, I would not comment on that.”
Patterson then added, “But obviously, if the Leader of the Opposition…maybe will hold the press conference when it is convenient.”
For weeks, Harmon has been unable to reveal answers to specific questions regarding the Kaieteur and Canje Blocks as well as a date for the promised press conference.
He had told Kaieteur News at a recent press conference, “Let me say that I am not in a position this week to indicate to you. However, I did say in my press conference last week that we will have a special conference on the question of oil and gas. That has not happened as yet. I will inform you when that will take place. But it is something that the team is looking at carefully. I am not in a position to say to you anything on those blocks, beyond what I have said and beyond what is published in the media, Kaieteur News in particular.”
Kaieteur News’ reporters continuously posed questions to the Opposition Leader in hopes of getting clear answers on how these sweetheart deals were awarded.
However, Harmon continues to claim ignorance.
Despite it being that the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) signed away the blocks, the coalition that Harmon leads in the National Assembly is accused as being just as complicit.
It should be noted that for the entirety of the coalition’s term in government, Harmon was a key figure at the helm of the Ministry of the Presidency. He was Minister of State, then Director-General and throughout that period, the Ministry of Natural Resources fell under the Presidency. This meant that he had direct access to the information being asked for and would not have had to rely on information from outside sources, since he should have already been in possession of such information while in government.