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ExxonMobil ‘Puts Guyana on the Map’ with Discovery

From Rigzone

Exxon Mobil Corp. on Thursday reported its fifth new oil discovery after drilling the Turbot-1 well offshore Guyana with the Stena Carron drillship.

“The results from this latest well further illustrate the tremendous potential we see from our exploration activities offshore Guyana,” ExxonMobil Exploration Co. President Steve Greenlee said in a company announcement. “ExxonMobil, along with its partners, will continue to further evaluate opportunities on the Stabroek Block.”

According to ExxonMobil, Turbot is the latest in a string of discoveries in Guyana. Previous discoveries in the South American country include Liza, Payara, Snoek and Liza Deep. The company said that its affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Ltd. began drilling Turbot-1 on Aug. 14, 2017, and encountered a reservoir of 75 feet (23 meters) of high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone in the primary objective.

According to Wood Mackenzie, the Turbot-1 discovery “puts Guyana on the map” because the country currently produces no oil.

“ExxonMobil continues with its successful exploration campaign offshore Guyana with the discovery of Turbot,” said Pablo Medina, Wood Mackenzie’s senior analyst, Latin America Upstream. “This shows that deepwater can still be attractive. After today’s announcement, ExxonMobil’s Liza and Payara complex might approach the 2 billion barrel mark in commercial reserves.”

Wood Mackenzie expects Guyana to be one of Latin America’s top oil producers by 2026 with approximately 350,000 to 400,000 barrels per day of oil production, noted Medina.

Guyana prez invites expats to invest for development

Guyana’s president calling for 19th century solutions in a 21st century world.

President David Granger told Guyanese at a meet and greet reception on Sept. 22, that Guyana needs ‘brains not barrels” and called on expatriates to investment in the development of their homeland, during an address at the midtown New York Princeton Club.

“We welcome your investments. We need your intellectual capital, with your help, we could become an important manufacturing country and not simply exporters of raw materials,” Granger told a packed audience of professionals, dignitaries and diplomats.

“We want to export the best furniture, and the finest jewelry to develop these industries. We could become an important manufacturing country, but we cannot do it alone,” said President Granger.

Calling bauxite, timber, gold, diamond, rice, and sugar, the ‘six sisters’ that have been Guyana’s main industries, President Granger noted that some of these industries are tired, adding that diversification in manufacturing is needed to move Guyana’s economy forward.

“Guyana is ready to take off, other countries have used Guyana’s products. We produce the best Demerara Rum and Demerara Sugar, we must become innovative, we can do it.”

He emphasized the importance of creating a strong infrastructure and called for engineers to bridge parts of Guyana, stating that the vast Essequibo region “does not have one single bridge.”

President said there is urgency for Guyana to build highways, and bridges, noting that it takes Minister Hastings-Williams MP, two days to travel to Georgetown to attend Parliament from the hinterland.

High incidence of unreported cases of rape, sexual assault continues to plague Guyana

From the Kaieteur News

A high incidence of unreported cases of rape and sexual assault continues to haunt Guyana. This is according to information provided by the United States Department report on human rights for 2015.

In a detailed document, the US government outlined a large number of cases of rape and other forms of sexual assaults are unreported to authorities, most likely due to fear of stigma, a lack of confidence in authorities, retribution, or further violence.

The report noted that the law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape; successful prosecution of cases of rape was infrequent.

“Based on media reports and commentary from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), a high incidence of rape and sexual assault was not reflected in official statistics.”

According to the document, the authorities received 233 reports of rape last year but only 36 persons were charged. The US government also highlighted the court backlog on tackling cases of sexual violence.

High incidence of unreported cases of rape, sexual assault continues to plague Guyana

Not really a shock.  Acceptance of sexual violence is a part of Guyanese culture.

A high incidence of unreported cases of rape and sexual assault continues to haunt Guyana. This is according to information provided by the United States Department report on human rights for 2015.

In a detailed document, the US government outlined a large number of cases of rape and other forms of sexual assaults are unreported to authorities, most likely due to fear of stigma, a lack of confidence in authorities, retribution, or further violence.

The report noted that the law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape; successful prosecution of cases of rape was infrequent.

“Based on media reports and commentary from Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), a high incidence of rape and sexual assault was not reflected in official statistics.”

According to the document, the authorities received 233 reports of rape last year but only 36 persons were charged. The US government also highlighted the court backlog on tackling cases of sexual violence.

“A judge has discretion to issue a sentence of any length in a rape conviction, depending upon the circumstances and severity of the act committed. The norm appeared to be a sentence of five to 10 years’ imprisonment.”

Acts of sexual harassment involving physical assault are prosecuted under relevant criminal statutes.  But while reports of sexual harassment were common, no cases were filed.

“Charges of sexual harassment often were settled out of court,” the US reported.  The Department outlined monetary penalties and award of damages to victims, but the law’s scope is confined to the workplace.

For instance, the law does not cover harassment in schools. Acts of sexual harassment involving physical assault are prosecuted under relevant criminal statutes.

In 2015, the police received 2,170 reports of domestic violence cases, and 1,131 persons were arraigned on charges. According to the US State Department domestic violence and violence against women, including spousal abuse, was widespread.

“The law prohibits domestic violence and allows victims to seek prompt protection, occupation, or tenancy orders from a magistrate. Penalties for violation of protection orders include fines up to $10,000  in addition to 12 months’ imprisonment.”

With regards to survivors of domestic crimes, the State Department noted that quite frequently such persons were unwilling to press charges due to a lack of confidence in obtaining a remedy through the courts.

“Some preferred to reach a pecuniary settlement out of court. There were reports of police accepting bribes from perpetrators and other reports of magistrates applying inadequate sentences after conviction.

According to the document, NGOs, police units were required to have domestic violence units where victims could be counseled in private.  In most cases NGOs have observed that domestic violence reports were not taken confidentially but rather were discussed in the open at police stations and were not treated as a matter of urgency.

According to the report, NGOs handled cases of abuse and violence, including child, spousal, and other domestic abuse, and provided psychosocial services to those victims. The government and private donors funded Help & Shelter, an NGO, to run a free shelter for victims of domestic violence and operate a hotline to counsel victims.

“The Help & Shelter also conducted awareness sessions to sensitize individuals about domestic violence and counseled persons affected by domestic abuse or violence during face-to-face counseling sessions and via the hotline.”

Survey shows Guyanese generally accept Domestic Violence

This isn’t that surprising.

As local human rights groups continue to advocate for equality amongst the genders, a recent international survey has shown that acceptance of domestic violence in Guyana is relatively high.

The Americas Barometer survey has been conducting interviews with thousands of Guyanese over the past few years with focus on democratic values and behaviours in the Americas.

During a revelation of the findings late last week, Dr. Elizabeth Zechmeister of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) said the survey showed domestic violence is relatively accepted in Guyana.

During interviews carried out between 2006 and 2014, respondents were asked whether they would or would not approve of a man hitting his wife if she had been unfaithful. They were also asked whether they would not approve but understand the abuse.

According to the survey, 10.2% of respondents approved while 25.4% of respondents did not approve of the abuse but understood. Further, 64.4% of respondents neither approved nor understood the abuse.

Zechmeister said the responses indicated a relatively high level of acceptance, especially when compared to other countries in the Americas. The data showed that Guyana was ranked third with 35.6% in interviewed countries on the acceptance of domestic violence. Ranked just above Guyana was El Salvador at 42.1% while Guatemala was ranked highest at 58%.

Margaret Kertzious, Coordinator of the Guyana Help and Shelter said the results of the survey were not surprising as domestic violence is perceived to be a normal activity in the Guyanese culture. She noted that persons were constantly seen fighting, even on the streets, and she deemed the society an abusive one. She said too that persons who lived overseas and who interacted with her would constantly ponder why abuse was so accepted in Guyana.

Further, she said, domestic violence was so pervasive that most Guyanese children were already aware or had experienced it in their lives.

Is Guyana edging towards war?

It is starting to look that way

Venezuela has been laying claim to the vast mineral-rich area of jungle west of the Essequibo River, which accounts for about 40% of Guyana’s territory. Earlier this year, Nicolás Maduro extended Venezuela’s maritime claims after Exxon Mobil announced it had made a significant oil discovery in Guyana’s territorial waters.

Then earlier this month, Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse was quoted in the media in his country as saying that the issue regarding the New River Triangle territory, which both countries have been claiming intermittently for decades, was back on the agenda.

Granger said that in order for Guyana to face head on, the claims being invented by Venezuela and Suriname, a plan for total national defense is vital.

The Guyana Defence Force isn’t very intimidating

  • 4 aircraft and helicopters
  • Nothing even close to something that could engaged in air to air combat.
  • Only a couple armoured vehicles
  • The navy is nothing more than few river patrol boats.

According to the CIA Factbook, there is only 1,100 enlisted in the military.  To say it’s inadequate to stop any country from rolling over it, would be an understatement.

Here is the recruiting video.

Guyana has only 1,100 enlisted troops and yet has Special Forces?

Surge of Sexual Violence in Guyana

From the Guyana Chronicle.

JUST this past week, the nation was reminded of how serious a problem we face regarding the scourge of sexual violence here, with more than three persons appearing in court on charges of sexual misconduct. One of them, a businessman, has been convicted of raping a seven-year-old boy. And as if that were not enough, the Guyana Police Force has announced that more than 200 cases of rape have been reported so far this year.Considering that rape and other sexual offences are deeply sensitive matters, it is anyone’s guess what is the true figure for this type of crime, given that a number of women choose to deal with this issue personally, rather than reporting it to the authorities.

As at February last year, it was reported that, globally, one in every 14 women has been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner.

Overall, 7.2 per cent of women aged 15 years or older told researchers that they had been sexually attacked at least once in their lives by someone who was not their intimate partner. The highest rates were in sub-Saharan Africa — 21 per cent in the centre (Democratic Republic of Congo) and 17.4 per cent in the south (Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe). This was followed by 16.4 per cent in Australia and New Zealand. The lowest reported prevalence was in South Asia (India and Bangladesh) at 3.3 per cent, and North Africa and the Middle East at 4.5 per cent.

“We found that sexual violence is a common experience for women worldwide, and in some regions is endemic, reaching more than 15 per cent in four regions,” said lead investigator Naeemah Abrahams of the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town.

Right here, the Ministry of Social Protection announced early last month that, from January to June 2015, there were 334 sexual abuse cases, with 256 coming from Berbice. The country can ill-afford to aggressively tackle this issue, and successfully tackling it requires the efforts of every law-abiding citizen. When, some years ago, the then Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand had launched her campaign, ‘Stamp it Out’, with accompanying legislative measures, many Guyanese had high hopes of a reversal of the trend of sexual violence. However, unfortunately, many years hence, we are still in the throes of a scourge that has blighted our society. The former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, had disclosed back in 2014 that, since 2011, no one had been convicted of a sexual offence. During that period, 22 cases were prosecuted

.

Tackling Sexual Violence in Guyana

From the Guyana Chronicle

Just this past week, the nation was reminded of how serious a problem we face regarding the scourge of sexual violence here, with more than three persons appearing in court on charges of sexual misconduct. One of them, a businessman, has been convicted of raping a seven-year-old boy. And as if that were not enough, the Guyana Police Force has announced that more than 200 cases of rape have been reported so far this year.Considering that rape and other sexual offences are deeply sensitive matters, it is anyone’s guess what is the true figure for this type of crime, given that a number of women choose to deal with this issue personally, rather than reporting it to the authorities.

As at February last year, it was reported that, globally, one in every 14 women has been sexually assaulted by someone other than a partner.

Overall, 7.2 per cent of women aged 15 years or older told researchers that they had been sexually attacked at least once in their lives by someone who was not their intimate partner. The highest rates were in sub-Saharan Africa — 21 per cent in the centre (Democratic Republic of Congo) and 17.4 per cent in the south (Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe). This was followed by 16.4 per cent in Australia and New Zealand. The lowest reported prevalence was in South Asia (India and Bangladesh) at 3.3 per cent, and North Africa and the Middle East at 4.5 per cent.

“We found that sexual violence is a common experience for women worldwide, and in some regions is endemic, reaching more than 15 per cent in four regions,” said lead investigator Naeemah Abrahams of the South African Medical Research Council in Cape Town.

Right here, the Ministry of Social Protection announced early last month that, from January to June 2015, there were 334 sexual abuse cases, with 256 coming from Berbice. The country can ill-afford to aggressively tackle this issue, and successfully tackling it requires the efforts of every law-abiding citizen. When, some years ago, the then Human Services Minister Priya Manickchand had launched her campaign, ‘Stamp it Out’, with accompanying legislative measures, many Guyanese had high hopes of a reversal of the trend of sexual violence. However, unfortunately, many years hence, we are still in the throes of a scourge that has blighted our society. The former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, had disclosed back in 2014 that, since 2011, no one had been convicted of a sexual offence. During that period, 22 cases were prosecuted.

To compound the problem, the sloth in the court system is a turn-off for many victims, which is one of the main reasons for the low rate of convictions. For years, despite all the talks by the previous administration about its spending to improve the judiciary, the fight against crime has been hobbled by an under-funded, overburdened and sluggish criminal justice system, with limited effectiveness in obtaining criminal convictions. The court system at all levels is beset with a culture of trial postponements and delays; absence of witnesses; disappearance of case files, among other ills.

The figures from the police indicate a worrying trend, but what is worse is that some parents and guardians have turned the offence into a business. It is difficult to seek justice when parents of victims prefer compensation from the suspects instead of legal redress in the courts. Fighting rape must therefore start from community level. People, especially young girls and boys, should be empowered through support groups to report such cases, and parents who ask for money from suspects and frustrate legal processes must also be held accountable.

UN visits Guyana to help settle Venezuela border dispute

This won’t end well.  Especially now that there is oil involved.

U.N. officials are visiting the South American country of Guyana to help settle a border dispute with neighboring Venezuela.

The office of Guyana President David Granger says U.N. officials were studying the issue Tuesday and that the secretary general eventually will meet with both presidents to help find a solution.

Granger’s office says it plans to go to the International Court of Justice if the dispute continues.

Venezuela long has claimed two-thirds of Guyana as its own, including a large marine area where Exxon Mobil Corp. said it had made a significant oil discovery.

It could get ugly.

In fact, Guyana joined Petrocaribe during the PPP’s tenure and the small, relatively weak Guyanese government soon became dependent on Venezuelan oil shipments. In exchange for shipments equal to roughly half of Guyana’s daily oil consumption, Guyana sends 200,000 tons of rice every year, about 40 percent of its total rice production. But, according to Guyanese Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the Venezuelan government threatened to stop buying rice from Granger’s government by 2016. Maduro is punishing Granger for his defiance and, as a result, Guyana might have to buy oil from Venezuela at market prices using hard currency.

Maduro’s hostility is also borne of fear. In May, Guyana sent a ship from the Guyanese Defense Force to St. Kitts and Nevis to partake in military exercises hosted by the U.S. Southern Command. And with U.S. investors fleeing Venezuelan markets, Maduro wants to prevent capital flight to an English-speaking, U.S.-aligned neighbor with sudden windfall oil profits.

Maduro knows that if Guyana keeps its government from forming an oil monopoly like the ones in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, Guyana could become a wealthy and functional society. And if the government does eventually form an oil monopoly, Guyana could become the Kuwait to Venezuela’s Iraq; Maduro would want to prevent that.

As long as Venezuela doesn’t seize Guyanese oil assets or sabotage rigs, the Stabroek block could produce more than $40 billion worth of crude oil over ten years. In that case, Guyana, the third-least prosperous country in Latin America, with the world’s highest suicide rate, has a shot at becoming more like its most realistic role model, Uruguay.

Fortunately, both leaders have stated publicly that they will seek a peaceful solution. This is good news for energy investors who prefer to deal with an English-speaking government less likely to seize assets. In fact, ExxonMobil is not the only foreign oil company placing a healthy bet on Guyana’s future.

In addition to Exxon’s Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, which holds a 45 percent interest in the Stabroek drilling project, Hess’ Guyana Exploration Limited and China National Offshore Corporation’s Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited hold 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Additional companies exploring Guyana’s off-shore potential include Canada’s CGX Energy and Spain’s Repsol.

The future is bright for Guyana. Multinational oil companies are investing unprecedented sums into Guyana’s offshore potential, and its new governing coalition led by President Granger has a chance at a fresh start.

But the likelihood of Venezuela invading Guyanese territory increases as the fate of Maduro’s reign worsens. In a desperate bid for domestic support, Maduro might strike out at Guyana, much like the Argentine military junta’s failed attempt to save itself by invading the Falklands Islands in 1982.

On the other hand, the likelihood of Maduro invading Guyanese territory diminishes as the coalition of international firms invested in the region grows larger and more diversified. At a certain point, the coalition across the border will be too powerful for Maduro to oppose. In this sense, the race for Guyana is on.