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Nigel Hughes says no law prevents him from representing Exxon while leading AFC

Nigel Hughes, a prominent Guyana-based attorney and the newly elected leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC) political party, has responded to criticisms concerning a potential conflict of interest arising from his representation of ExxonMobil Guyana Limited (EMGL) and his new political role.

The controversy emerged following Hughes' election as the AFC leader on March 3, 2023. Critics argued that his law firm's ongoing representation of EMGL in various legal matters could pose a conflict of interest with his new political role, as the AFC is a major opposition party in Guyana and often engages in debates and negotiations with the government on issues related to the oil industry, including those involving ExxonMobil.

However, Hughes dismissed these concerns in an interview with Kaieteur News, stating that "there is no law that prohibits me from practicing as an attorney-at-law and being a political leader." He further explained that he had informed the AFC executive committee about his legal representation of EMGL before his election as party leader.

Hughes also emphasized that his involvement in political matters would not affect his professional duties towards EMGL. "I have always maintained a clear separation between my political role and my professional role," he said. "I will continue to do so."

It is important to note that Guyana's legal profession does not have specific regulations prohibiting lawyers from engaging in political activities or representing clients with interests that may conflict with their political affiliations. However, lawyers are expected to maintain professional ethics and ensure that their actions do not compromise their clients' interests or bring discredit to the legal profession.

ExxonMobil is one of the largest oil companies operating in Guyana, and its discoveries in the Stabroek Block have significantly contributed to Guyana's economic growth in recent years. The company's operations in Guyana have been subject to various legal disputes and negotiations with the government and other stakeholders, making Hughes' role as both a political leader and an attorney for EMGL a matter of public interest.

Despite the controversy, Hughes remains committed to his roles in both the legal and political spheres. He has assured the public that he will continue to uphold the highest standards of professional ethics and political responsibility in his duties.

In conclusion, while some may view Nigel Hughes' dual roles as a potential conflict of interest, there is currently no law in Guyana that prohibits him from practicing as an attorney and leading a political party. It remains to be seen how he will navigate these roles in the future, but he has expressed his commitment to maintaining clear separation between his professional and political duties.

Published 18 days ago

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