A defiant Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, says Mr. Paulwell will not be removed from his portfolio responsibility of Opposition Spokesman on Mining and Energy.

In a statement yesterday, Dr. Phillips expressed full confidence in Mr. Paulwell. Dr. Phillips says the JLP statement is evidence the government has no plans to deal with the deepening crisis of corruption, nepotism, maladministration and possible criminal behaviour which has engulfed the state-owned agency.

He says the current administration has resorted to a campaign of distraction to distract the public’s attention from the evident failure of the administration’s stewardship of the energy portfolio.

Dr. Phillips says there is evidence that during Mr. Paulwell’s tenure as Energy Minister steps were taken to reduce the oil loss revenue to below industry standard.

According to Dr. Phillips, when Mr. Paulwell left office, oil losses stood at 49,000 barrels. He argues this is better than the international industry standard.

Dr. Phillips charges that losses skyrocketed to to 184,000 barrels during Dr. Andrew Wheatley’s tenure as Energy Minister.