A FAIR DEAL FOR GUYANA - A FAIR DEAL FOR THE PLANET

by A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

A FAIR DEAL FOR GUYANA - A FAIR DEAL FOR THE PLANET

by A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet
A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet
''A Fair Deal for Guyana - Fair Deal for the Planet' is a campaign by concerned citizens from Guyana and around the world.
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A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet
''A Fair Deal for Guyana - Fair Deal for the Planet' is a campaign by concerned citizens from Guyana and around the world.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Aug. 25, 2018

What will oil do for Guyana?

One of our legal counsel, Melinda Janki, explains some of the unfair terms of the oil deal.  This video has been viewed more than 130,000 times on social media.      

What will o...

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The seas surrounding Guyana are under threat by big oil companies.  We believe that the Government of Guyana is putting the natural world and our common home in danger.  Our legal cases will help protect the ocean, biodiversity and the global climate system for the benefit  of each one of us. The legal cases will challenge government and oil companies to get A Fair Deal for Guyana and A Fair Deal for the Planet. (www.fairdealforguyana.org)

The Stabroek oil concession

Who we are 

'A Fair Deal for Guyana - Fair Deal for the Planet' is a campaign by concerned citizens from Guyana and around the world.

The case

The Government has granted a petroleum production licence to three oil companies. Only one company has been issued with a permit by the Environmental Protection Agency. We believe this puts Guyana at risk.

We argue that the minister has acted unlawfully and irrationally in granting the licence and that his decision should be quashed by the court.

Attorney-at-Law Melinda Janki says: “There are clear grounds for saying that the minister has acted illegally. This case is the first step to protect Guyana from a potentially damaging oil deal."

Why we are doing this

Major oil reserves have been discovered off the coast of Guyana.  The government and the oil companies have talked about 'unimaginable wealth' for the country. However, there is widespread fear that this is a bad deal for Guyana and a disaster for our planet. In oil producing countries like Nigeria, Angola, Chad and Guyana's close neighbour, Venezuela, oil has led to rampant corruption, lost lives, environmental disasters, and excessive dependency on one economic sector. The oil companies and a small elite have become very rich.  Ordinary citizens are worse off. 

There are already early warning signs.  Oil companies paid Guyana’s government ministers a signing bonus of US$18 million which was placed illegally in a secret account.  The oil deal itself is scandalously low – the oil companies will pay no tax and the royalty is set at a derisory 2%.  Guyana will get a share of the profits but it will have no control over how those profits are calculated.  ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary recently presented Guyana with a bill for over US$460 million for costs going back as far as 1999. The international business press reports that Guyana's oil fields could be among the most profitable of the decade – it is easy to see why.

Meanwhile, no one seems to be paying attention to the impact of oil production on global climate change –  the biggest threat to life on earth. So far, ExxonMobil has estimated over 3.2 billion barrels of oil in their concession.  Once used, this will release over a billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.  Guyana will go from being a carbon sink, that prides itself on having vast areas of virgin rainforests, to a carbon emitter.

Guyana's Amazon Rainforest and Kaieteur Falls

There has also been insufficient attention to the environmental impact of the oil production itself. Deep water oil extraction is fraught with danger. Guyana’s marine area is rich in biodiversity including endangered blue whales, fin whales and North Atlantic right whales. Leatherback turtles, green turtles, hawksbill and Olive Ridley marine turtles all travel through these waters to reach Guyana's beaches where they lay their eggs. Guyana’s coastal mangrove forests are natural flood barriers and highly effective carbon sinks. Guyana’s fishermen also depend on the rich fishing grounds for their livelihoods.

Sperm whale and baby

A well blowout could devastate all of this. The BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010 killed 11 people, destroyed marine life and dumped over 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  Rex Tillerson, former President of ExxonMobil, has admitted that ‘when these things happen we are not well equipped to deal with them’.   An oil spill would hurt not only Guyana but also other nations.  A major spill would seriously damage, for example, the Caribbean eco-tourism sector which is worth US$16 billion annually and creates 650,000 jobs. Exxon was itself responsible for one of the biggest oil spills in history – the Exxon Valdez in which 11million gallons of crude oil devastated the pristine Alaskan coast in 1989.  

Marine turtles covered in oil

Even without any accidents, the planned oil production will produce thousands of tonnes of gas, liquid and solid emissions including pouring 4,000 barrels of sewage every day into the sea and nearly 13,000 tonnes of solid waste to be deposited in land fill sites in Guyana.

Guyana’s rich ocean, its spectacular rivers and its unique Amazonian rainforests are a paradise for nature-minded tourists and essential for the future of the planet.  Why jeopardise all of this?

What we are trying to achieve

We want the government and the oil companies to obey the law.

We want to enable concerned citizens to protect the environment for present and future generations.

How much we are raising and why

Our lawyers have generously acted pro bono so far in order to file the first case. But it is a huge undertaking to challenge the government of Guyana and the powerful oil sector. We know it will require significant legal time and costs. Nevertheless we believe that we must do everything legally possible to protect our common home and to ensure that the government and the oil companies obey the law.  We owe this to our children and grandchildren.

Guyana has a strong legal regime for protecting the environment. We intend to use these laws to safeguard biodiversity and protect the environment for present and future generations.

 Our appeal concerns not only Guyana and Guyanese people, but also anyone who cares about nature and wants to protect our magnificent planet for future generations.  

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

Our initial target of £4,000 (approx.US$5,700 or €4,500) will enable us to cover some of our initial costs.

Our stretch target of £50,000 (approx.US$ 71,000 or €57,000) will enable us to keep challenging breaches of the law and advocating for environmental protection.

Brief Biographies

Seenauth Jairam, is a highly experienced barrister who has been a Senior Counsel for nearly 20 years. He has represented clients across the Caribbean islands and Guyana and appeared before the Privy Council and the Caribbean Court of Justice.  He has served as a temporary judge and was a member of the Law Reform Commission of Trinidad and Tobago for 12 years. He is experienced in public law matters like this case and he has generously given his time pro bono  so far.

Melinda Janki was admitted to practice as a solicitor in England in 1988 and as an attorney-at-law in Guyana in 1994. She started her career in Lovells (now Hogan Lovells) and worked in the City of London before moving back to Guyana where she has worked tirelessly to protect the environment and the rights of Guyana’s Amerindian peoples. She has changed the law in Guyana including drafting Article 36 of the Guyana Constitution which protects the environment, drafting Guyana's Protected Areas Act and drafting the Amerindian Act 2006 which guarantees Amerindian land rights and internal self-government. She too has given her time pro bono so far on this case.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:  www.fairdealforguyana.org

FOLLOW US:  

https://twitter.com/fairdealguyana 

https://www.instagram.com/fairdealforguyana/ 

www.facebook.com/fairdealforguyana 

BREAKING NEWS - LOCAL AND GLOBAL:

Renegotiate Contract.  Stabroek News 12 Feb 2018 

Signing Bonus Illegal Kaieteur News 13 Feb 2018

New York City Sues ExxonMobil.  'Pay Up for Climate Change Costs'    CNN Finance 10 January 2018

Oil Spills in Trinidad. Lessons for Guyana.



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Update 10

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

Aug. 25, 2018

What will oil do for Guyana?

One of our legal counsel, Melinda Janki, explains some of the unfair terms of the oil deal.  This video has been viewed more than 130,000 times on social media.      

What will oil do for Guyana?

Please send to your friends and colleagues. Encourage them to support the campaign.

Thank you.

Update 9

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

July 4, 2018

COURT OF APPEAL SETS ASIDE FIRST JUDGEMENT

The Court of Appeal has set aside the order by Justice Holder that there were no grounds for our case against the minister granting a license to all three oil companies when only one company had an environmental permit. 

The Court of Appeal has ordered a rehearing in the High Court in which the minister will be required to put in a defence!  This is an important result and is exactly what our lawyers requested. 

The judges also agreed that the case is urgent. 

We know this is a long fight and it is very significant that our lawyers have been able to convince the judges of both the urgency and the importance of this case. 

Thank you again for your support and please do share the good news with friends, family, colleagues etc. 

We are also asking everyone to promote the campaign on Facebook and social media.


Update 8

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

June 27, 2018

Second appeal court hearing - 28 June.

There will be a second Court of Appeal hearing on 28 June.  Our lawyer are asking the Hon. Court of Appeal to deem this case  urgent so that it can be heard on its merits.  We will keep you posted on the outcome of the appeal hearing.  Thank you for your continuing support.

THE CAMPAIGN TEAM

Update 7

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

June 3, 2018

Our first victory!

Our case went to the Court of Appeal  on Tuesday 29th May. The Government wanted the case dismissed. However our lawyers pointed out the importance and urgency of the issue and the Court has fixed a hearing date for 28th June.  The Court has asked our lawyers to provide further submissions on the question of urgency.  Our lawyers also successfully objected to the oil companies being allowed to take part at this stage.

You can read a full account of the first hearing in the news article attached. First Hearing of Appeal (Registration required).

 We are delighted to have good news to share with all our supporters. We know this is not an easy fight!

Thank you for your continuing support!

THE CAMPAIGN TEAM


Update 6

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

May 28, 2018

WHAT WILL OIL DO FOR GUYANA?

Melinda Janki, one of our lawyers, gave a presentation in Guyana last week on the oil deal.  She highlighted the potential financial and environmental costs of the deal as well as pointing out that there are credible grounds for challenging the Petroleum Agreement with the three oil companies, Esso, Hess and Nexen. Here is an extract from the national paper Stabroek News article about the presentation:

"Guyana pays for pipelines, well heads, equipment, offshore platforms, terminals, direct and indirect services including vehicles, aircraft, power plants, housing, furniture, community and recreational facilities…

Guyana pays the legal costs incurred by Esso, Hess and Nexen – even the costs of their in-house lawyers,

Guyana pays for expatriate employees to travel to Guyana and rent houses, Guyana pays labour costs including any bonuses that the management decide to pay themselves and Guyana even pays for employees outside of Guyana including employees of companies that are affiliated to the oil companies,” Janki noted, adding that “Guyana pays for every poor business decision and every extravagant business decision. For Janki, a key disadvantage for Guyana lies in the fact that it relies on these companies for information, notably the amount of oil in Guyana’s reserves is whatever Esso – ExxonMobil’s subsidiary –  announces it to be, oil production is whatever Esso, Hess and Nexen say that it is and the amount of oil that Esso, Hess and Nexen reasonably require for production is whatever they say it is.

“They don’t have to pay for it. This is free oil,” .

You can read the full article in Stabroek News in the attached link.  (Registration required.)

The comments on the article were largely supportive with one commentator stating his opinion that 'This contract is an outrage'. 

We believe that this reflects a changing perception in Guyana, where ordinary citizens are questioning whether the oil can be good for Guyana or good for the planet.

Our appeal is fixed for Tuesday 29 May and we are hoping for a decision in our favour.

Update 5

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

May 12, 2018

Court of Appeal hearing date set for Tuesday 29th May in Guyana

Our lawyers have received a memorandum from the Guyana  Court of Appeal fixing the hearing of our Motion.  We will be arguing that the appeal against the judge's decision should be heard now rather than being fixed for later in the Court's schedule as the court system can encounter delays.  Please follow us on this page and on social media to receive further updates.  THE CAMPAIGN TEAM. 


Update 4

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

April 19, 2018

Solicitors International Human Rights Group presentation TODAY

Our lawyer, Melinda Janki, will be giving a presentation TODAY in London on legal issues around challenging oil production.

Please join us.  

Details and registration link below:

Challenging Oil Production - A call to action

A FAIR DEAL FOR THE PLANET?

Challenging Oil Production: A call to action.

Thursday 19th April at 6.15pm in room RG05 University of Law, 14 Store Street, London WC1 E7D.  


Melinda  Janki,  an  international  lawyer,  will  discuss legal and environmental issues around the proposed oil production  in  Guyana,  a  small  South American  nation and former British colony. She will discuss the potential impact  on  the  Caribbean  and  the  rest  of  the world through  climate  change  and  biodiversity  loss.  She  will also touch on recent litigation challenging the proposed oil production in Guyana.  

Update 3

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

March 31, 2018

Urgent court appeal filed

Our court case has moved to the next stage. The judge refused to quash the decision of the minister to grant a petroleum production licence to Esso, Hess and Nexen when only Esso has an environmental permit. Our lawyers have filed an appeal.  We are arguing that the judge's decision was wrong in law and that he exceeded his jurisdiction.

Our lawyers have also filed a motion for an urgent hearing of the appeal on the grounds that there is a significant risk of grave and irreparable harm to the environment. With each day that passes the risk from this proposed oil venture project increases. Hess and Nexen can drill and produce oil without being regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency through the environmental permit.

We will let you know as soon as we have a date. In the meantime our lawyers are working hard to prepare the submissions to the court.

Thank you for your support.

Update 2

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

March 23, 2018

Campaign featured in the Guardian

Great news!  Our campaign has featured in the Guardian.  

Here is the link:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/22/guyanese-campaigners-mount-legal-challenge-against-three-oil-giants

This shows the importance of this campaign - not just for Guyana but for the whole planet.

We are keeping up the pressure with the legal action in Guyana.  

We cannot do this without your support.

Please help us to reach our £4,000 target - only six days to go!



Update 1

A Fair Deal for Guyana - A Fair Deal for the Planet

March 22, 2018

Legal action has started!

We have started the first legal action in Guyana to challenge the Minister’s decision to grant a petroleum production licence to three oil companies (Esso, Hess and Nexen) when only Esso has an environmental permit from the EPA. Acting in the public interest, Ramon Gaskin, applied for an interim order to quash the licence and the Minister's decision. 

Unfortunately the judge refused the application. Yesterday Mr Gaskin's lawyers filed an appeal against that decision.  The grounds of the appeal state that the judge exceeded his jurisdiction, misconstrued the environmental and petroleum laws and erred by conflating the requirements for an inter partes hearing with the requirements for an ex parte hearing.

According to Mr Gaskin, “The law clearly states that you must have an environmental permit to do petroleum operations.  I believe that the Minister of Natural Resources acted unlawfully when he granted a petroleum production licence to Esso, Hess and Nexen. Hess and Nexen do not have an environmental permit and I believe the Minister did not have the power to grant that licence.  That is why I am appealing to the Court of Appeal.”

We believe we have a strong case. We also believe that we must pursue this challenge in order to protect the environment for present and future generations and for people everywhere.

Please send this update on to anyone who might be interested. Please support this challenge to protect the environment and please encourage others to do so.

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