Outspoken political commentator and chartered accountant, Christopher Ram claims Guyanese are being misled on local content for the oil and gas industry of Guyana.Ram said it is unfortunate that the comments coming from both people locally and overseas have not been consistent with the laws governing the petroleum sector in Guyana.Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram“Almost every person that has spoken on local content is speaking either from a position of ignorance or is deliberately misleading people as to what local content means in the context of our Petroleum Exploration and Production Act,” Ram told delegates at GPIEX 2018 on Thursday.He contended that in order to acquire a prospecting licence, an applicant must state what the local contents are in respect to employment of Guyanese labour. Also, when applying for a production licence, the applicant must state local contents for the purchase of goods and services.The accountant asserted that until the laws are changed, then those systems will continue to prevail.Ram also told this newspaper on Thursday that Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and other public officials have all stated repeatedly that Guyana could determine whether local content should be included in the legislation or developed separately as a policy.“No we don’t! The law is and that is set out under the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act and regulations that in applying for a prospecting licence, you must present your proposals for local content in respect of a prospecting licence … So all the things they are saying are incorrect,” he added.Further, Ram said, “I think it is sad that we have to have a foreigner tell us what local content should be, and that to me is the irony. I don’t think Trotman is acting from a position of total ignorance.”“I don’t think he is bothering to read the law and he is getting people to come and advise him who are just as ignorant. I am sorry to say, I have to be blunt because if he does not as a lawyer accept what the law requires then I can’t say what he is going to do.Quite frankly I don’t think Mr Trotman has done a great service to this country in relation to his portfolio as Minister of Natural Resources,” he added.The Local Content Plan and what it will do for Guyana has been a burning question since it was announced that oil was found in the Stabroek Block. Expectations were initially tempered by statements to the effect that few job opportunities would be created by commercial exploitation of this oil find, but the company has since said it will help with local content delivery.When ExxonMobil was granted a production licence in June of this year, Minister Trotman had given the company a six-month deadline in which to submit its Local Content Plan to the Government.ExxonMobil’s Guyana Country Manager, Rod Henson, had announced that the company would be relocating its onshore operations, which were used for support services, from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana.He said it was not the case that ExxonMobil would be looking to build a facility for its support services, but would rather put out tenders, and anyone interested in providing the shore-based services could present a proposal.Trotman had, in 2016, announced that Cabinet had given its ‘no objection’ to the establishment of the onshore industrial site on Crab Island, in the mouth of the Berbice River. He had said it would be forged through the joint efforts of the Ministries of Natural Resources, Public Infrastructure and Business.Construction was announced for early this year, and the investments from the Private Sector and Government’s infrastructural work and support were to be equivalent to US$500 million; but the Crab Island facility is yet to materialise.However, the draft Local Content Policy has been criticised in recent months for lacking provisions which would safeguard against exploitation by companies. The document does not cater for issues such as how to avoid procurement fraud, conflict of interest and favouritism, among others.Instead, the draft Local Content Policy framework seeks to address, the suite of opportunities that may arise and the approaches to be taken in selecting and developing opportunities related to enhancing the capabilities of Guyanese nationals and businesses.
EnglandSouth Africa’s next match, against England on Sunday, should be the group decider after the English defeated hosts France 30-6 in their opening clash. England also beat the French in the Six Nations Championship and finished top of the table. They finished the game by crossing the USA’s try line for what should have been the try that took them past 100 points, but captain Ruan Steenkamp had the ball knocked free of his grasp in the act of touching down and three figures were not reached. ‘A great start’“We are happy we have come through this and it was a great start for us.” At scrumhalf, Stefan Ungerer enjoyed a fine game, delivering crisp service, kicking accurately, and making a number of incisive breaks. “It was important for us to get a good start,” he told the IRB. “It was a game we expected to do well [in], but it was a difficult start as we know the other games will be harder. Goal kicking 6 June 2013 Up front, the blond locks of huge flanker Jacques du Plessis were hard to miss. He was around the ball throughout the contest and shone on both attack and defence. In Group B, Ireland, who shocked South Africa in their first match of the 2012 JWC, defeated southern hemisphere opposition again, downing Australia 19-15. The team’s goal-kicking, especially that of Handre Pollard, the only holdover from the 2012 title winning team, was poor as only seven of 16 tries were converted, while the referee blew both halves short by about two-and-a-half minutes each. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material They should have topped 100 points again on Wednesday, but they did at least come away with the biggest winning margin in the history of the event. BenchWith victory secured so early in the game – South Africa led 54-0 at the break – coach Theron was able to give the players on the bench a good run out. New Zealand did the expected as they thumped Fiji, who lost a player to a red card and were at one stage down to 13 men, by 59 points to 6. South Africa began the defence of their IRB Junior World Championship (JWC) title with a massive 97-0 thrashing of the USA at the Stade Henri Desgrange in La Roche-sur-Yon, France on Wednesday. Only twice previously has a team topped the 100-point mark in the JWC, and on both occasions it was South Africa, which also beat the Americans 108-18 in 2008 and Fiji 104-17 in 2011. Both victories included a record 16 tries, a mark which the boys in green and gold matched in their 97-0 triumph. Semi-finalists from last year, Wales and Argentina, both won comfortably in their first outings, with the Welsh seeing off Samoa 42-3 and Argentina outplaying Scotland 44-13. Winger Seabelo Senatla matched a JWC record by crossing for four tries. He, fullback Cheslin Kolbe and centre Justin Geduld are members of the South African Sevens Squad for the Sevens World Cup and all three exhibited the skills that have served them so well in that format. While coach Dawie Theron was happy to start with a win, it’s doubtful he learnt much from the one-sided thrashing. Surprisingly, considering the result, near the end of the game the Americans managed to lay siege to the South African try line, but the Baby Boks were up to the challenge as they made sure they kept a clean sheet.