GUYANA: Exxon’s “enormous pressure” on government; good local content and taxi drivers – By GHK Lall

OIL – EXXON-MOBIL – PAYARA

The Vice President opened his mouth and showed that he is not up to the job of dealing in the big leagues with the big boys. He laments about “enormous pressure” from Exxon to justify his government’s abject failure to seize the moment and rearrange this country’s prospects from greedy Exxon. He kowtowed embarrassingly with that limp one of getting more for Payara.

To the Hon. Vice President, I say this: it is nothing, not near what it should be. Again, I say this to the VP and Guyana, Exxon is a wounded giant, flopping around and hanging on to Guyana for dear life; it is beached on Guyana’s shores, and any swift kick to the behinds of its rapacious leaders will make them rear up in alarm.       

The Vice President is no dummy, and he knows that well. So, it is mystifying, given his known ruthlessness, why he has not said to Exxon: step up and pony up. That means generous cost sharing, and paying some taxes for a start. Fund a geologic centre at UG, and we will name the price tag; and get environmental insurance. He has to play hardball, be creative. Be Yamani. Be Ghadaffy. Understand that we are at the bottom of the oil expertize pool; recruit real experts; don’t pretend at knowledge, bring together the widest cross-section of deep minds to form a formidable front against Exxon. But the VP knows best.

Just last year, Guyana’s Vice President marshalled his troops for elections. He has to marshal again, and go to war with Exxon, which is what it must be, but from which he shrinks, and only he knows why. Bring out the people, as was done before. Pressure provokes backpressure. Tell Exxon that the people are agitated, angry, and impatient. Just like during the elections, and something must give. Guyana must get, if not contractually, then peripherally. It is called leverage. The VP has to outthink and outfox Exxon, and he can’t do so alone. I am putting all this in writing for the benefit of America, Europe, Exxon, the VP, and Guyana. Let the chips fall.

LOCAL INDUSTRY

Now, I hunt to find the encouraging, anything positive to share. The going is heavy, with few opportunities, but I latch on to the news from last Thursday about the Standards Bureau approving the products of a local company. It was in the instance of Fibre Tech Industrial Plastics receiving GNBS’s certification and clearance to market its “fibreglass bathtub and shower products” (KN March 25). That is pretty encouraging because it confirms yet again that Guyanese can be creative and resourceful and skilled at delivering the good things that make for a good life. It would be still more encouraging if the prices of those products were within the reach of more Guyanese than less. I congratulate the owner(s) and workers of Fibre Tech for a delightful development.

TAXI DRIVERS

The next issue touched contains both the encouraging and disturbing. Also, from last Thursday’s edition of KN, there were the stories of taxi drivers and the troubles they face, as well as the troubles that some of them inflict. First the good news: one taxi driver was sentenced to over two decades in jail for raping a 12-year-old schoolgirl. Predators like these that ogle and then prey upon our vulnerable should be buried up to their necks, with opportunity for the population to assault them at will. My hope is that his 21-year sentence will not be reduced as “too excessive,” as he should have gotten life. Castrated, too! The good news is that he was caught and made to pay. Then, there was the disturbing, also involving the dark side of earning a living by driving a taxi. It was where a passenger joined a gunman to rob a driver. Now, the driver – a citizen working two jobs – is out of his bread and butter (car) and belongings. They tell me serious crime is down; but daily developments like these disturb. That driver knows.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Kaieteur News.)

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Comments

  • Georgy Porgy  On 03/30/2021 at 11:22 am

    That’s what happens when you make deals with the devil. The VP is not in control and neither is the Pres.

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