A lawsuit has been filed against the Guyanese government seeking to stop oil and gas exploration in the country’s offshore blocks.

The lawsuit was filed by Quadad De Freitas, a 21 year old indigenous tour guide and Dr Troy Thomas, a University Lecturer, who claim that the government’s approval of exploration licenses goes against its constitutional duties to provide a healthy and safe environment for its citizens.

This is the first case of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.

The law comes a week after a Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2019 levels.

A consortium of oil companies, led by ExxonMobil, is leading the way in production in Guyana with 19 oil discoveries in the block it controls.

In a statement to Loop Caribbean News, Todd Spitler, Corporate Media Relations Senior Advisor at ExxonMobil, said the company has always followed the law, which governing oil and gas exploration in Guyana.

“We comply with all applicable laws at every step of the exploration, appraisal, development and production stages; as well as each step of the rigorous process to obtain environmental authorization for our projects in Guyana,” Spitler said.

“The Environmental Impact Assessment for each of ExxonMobil Guyana’s projects outline potential environmental impacts and mitigations. We have robust compliance assurance systems that enable identification and timely reporting of operational issues with the Environmental Protection Agency and Ministry of Natural Resources.”