GUYANA: Oil monitoring (we cannot compete); domestic violence (we cannot condone) – GHK Lall Column

  Nov 29, 2020  NewsThe GHK Lall Column 

>>>Encouraging Events, Disturbing Developments<<<

Kaieteur News – Vincent Adams, former Head of the EPA, highlighted the need for training and compensating our people for monitoring and effective compliance with our laws and regulations. I am encouraged that Dr. Adams pinpointed this policing of our ballooning oil industry, which has relevance in other resource areas. To be ahead of the multi-nationals, we must be better than them.   


It is a huge order of many pluses, which encourages because of its significance for us, as an oil-producing nation and as to how much we extract from what is extracted. There is a downside to this, which I share from past experience. The highly trained overseers – the recognizably tough ones, the ones manning the bridge – usually get wooed away. Though well compensated, the trained ones that stand out a lot of the times end up on the side of the same companies that they were responsible for probing, monitoring, challenging, and stopping from continuing their violations.

They end up on the other side, because no matter how richly compensated; the state cannot compete with the deep pockets of the heavy hitters in the corporate world. When those are of the heft of an Exxon, it could be over before it started. I know of men and women – well trained and well paid – who were successfully recruited by the same businesses, which they oversaw. Packages offered were just too rich. As evidence, there were Arthur Andersen auditors and Enron. In addition, Guyanese learned of Canadian Payara reviewer, Alison Redford, and Exxon monies funneled to her people.

Competitive training and compensation are mandatory, but the big companies can outspend and outlast. In fact, the SEC of America was prompted to make it a hard condition for its staffers – attorneys and accountants – to prevent them from taking up a position for a minimum of two years with a company from the time of their last engagement. The revolving door slowed considerably. The disturbing was discouraged.


In the villages, two citizens are dead within two days, a mature woman of 62 and a young man of 20, at the hands of close blood relations. Both the woman and the man died in the bloodiest of circumstances, and in both instances, chemicals were involved.

From the media reports, I gather the disturbing story of a hardworking woman brutalized and murdered allegedly by her own son, a confirmed drug addict. In the instance of the dead man, he was stabbed by his own sister due to his drunken violence against his wife.

He was the one that was intoxicated in this instance.

Violence against women by their own in Guyana, is almost an accepted cultural practice, the dead mother being less frequent, while the deceased husband killed during his drunken rampage is a relatively rare phenomenon.

Regardless, this troubles at several levels, battered women living in continuous fear; the resignation, even tolerance with which such is treated in and out of the family home by a jaded and distancing society; the limitations of court orders and moral suasions; the almost always lateness of neighbours, friends, relatives, or the law to make a difference, through no negligence of each of those groups.

It disturbs that we seem so helpless in the face of what amounts to a national scourge, a societal disgrace. Recently, the Hon. Minister of Human Services, Ms. Vindya Persaud, used the vast reach of social media to recognize and align with the UN’s 16-day initiative against gender-based violence under the theme: “Orange the world: Fund, Prevent, Respond, Collect.”

I support all of those action verbs, if only they give a chance to save one life, usually a woman’s or that of a child’s prevented from growing up motherless and ending up who knows where and in what shape.

If a son, as a perpetrator? If girl, a punching bag, a bulls eye for target practice? It disturbs that this is so prevalent; I am encouraged that we keep trying to fight it.

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  • brandli62  On 12/03/2020 at 10:55 am

    The removal of Dr. Vincent Adams as the Head of the EPA by the new administration without any explanation is the real scandal. Was Dr. Adams too competent or did he have the wrong party affiliation or ethnic background. Is Mr. Lall planning to write a column on this topic in the near future?

    • the only  On 12/04/2020 at 2:39 pm

      As a APNU supporter i dont want my people working for the PPP.

      • brandli62  On 12/04/2020 at 4:12 pm

        Dr. Adams himself has a different view. He always felt that he is serving the people of Guyana as a technocrat at the helm of the EPA and not as member of a particular party. He expressed this opinion in a recent radio interview, which was quoted by Kaieteur News.

        “When asked whether he would be willing to commit his services to the government in future if asked, Dr. Adams indicated that he is enthusiastic to serve the people of Guyana in any voluntary capacity, if any arises.”

        While he acknowledges that the President has a right to decide who works with him, he says the termination of his services sends a bad signal to overseas-based Guyanese who are thinking about returning to serve. “Unfortunately, the situation was handled without class and dignity and if this is the way the country will be led, then we have a long way to go,” Mr. Adams told News-Talk Radio Guyana / Demerara Waves Online News.

  • brandli62  On 12/03/2020 at 10:57 am

    Besides the issue of Dr. Adams removal, I welcome that focus on the surge of domestic violence in Guyana. What can be done to stop it? GHK Lall fails to come up with suggestions on how to fight domestic violence. I would expect this from an ardent observer of Guyanese affairs.

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