The philetairus is a bird common to Africa. It is one of the world’s most sociable birds. After reading about the Eric Philips interest in the purchase of oil blocks under the name of African Business Roundtable, one can assume that the philetairus is nesting in Guyana.
But what is wrong with the presence of the philetairus up in the tree of APNU+AFC? The answer is absolutely nothing. When it was revealed by the Opposition Leader that a number of African Guyanese had obtained permits from the APNU+AFC regime for the purchase of more than 3000 acres of state land, this columnist wrote that the sale could not be faulted because people buy state lands in all countries. My deep desire as a Guyanese is to see the emergence of an expanding African business class.
I sincerely feel in the bosom of my heart that African Guyanese should begin to invest in land. For the sale of a stable future, we need an African business class and a large African peasantry. Against this belief of mine, I saw and will see nothing wrong with African Guyanese purchasing state land.
The recent discovery that Phillips has applied for oil blocks suggests the philetairus is indeed nesting in the tree of APNU+AFC. There are two intriguing dimensions to Phillips’s oil block move. First he is a very high official in SARA. Phillips, his boss, the ex-revolutionary economist, Clive Thomas and President Granger know full well that the pattern since time immemorial is that state investigations of alleged criminal violations of the business world are not done by business people but professionally lawyers, auditors, accountants, engineers, university professors etc.
You cannot ask an investor in California to probe the books of Wall Street businessmen. He may know quite a few of them through ownership of stocks and bonds in some other part of the US. Eric Philips has become an investor. How can he be an investigator of criminal misconduct by wealthy folks? At some point there could arise an awkward situation during his probe. As we are on the role of SARA, Clive Thomas needs to tell the nation how many persons, apart from Philips, are doing SARA’s probes and what type of training they have.
The second dimension of the philetairus’ nest is the knowledge of oil by the African Business Roundtable (ABR) investors. It would appear that the ABR folks have no background of involvement in the oil industry. So why should the state sell them oil blocks?
The exposure of Phillips’ interest in oil occurred right in the middle of the story of oil blocks being sold to persons not involved in oil by the previous government just before the 2015 election. The Phillips thing also comes at a time when Minister David Patterson went to China on a cheque paid for by a section of his ministry. On his return to Guyana, Patterson gave the Chinese embassy his personal bank number so the Chinese could repay the cost of the trip. But Patterson did not fund his trip. His ministry did. Why not give the ministry’s Bank of Guyana’s account. Patterson indicated that he transferred the sum to that account.
I can’t recall seeing him produce the paper trail of the transfer. But I’m sure he did. Patterson last week brought a brand new Land Cruiser. A high level AFC activist told me in the presence of Ogle airport engineer, Raymond Persaud and Persaud’s business friend, Timol Huggins that he would estimate the sale price as 60 million. The AFC activist (the offspring of one of the AFC’s bigwigs), recalls Patterson as saying that the vehicle is not the ministry’s property. It would be nice if Patterson could classify if that huge, black Land Cruiser that I saw him drove up to the AFC’s head office in is his own or the government’s.
Phillips said he is no longer an ABR investor. He left the project. One would like to think he should offer some proof of that. It should take two forms. Submission of the paper work of withdrawal so the Guyanese people can see for themselves and a statement from the other investors of ABR that indeed Phillips has walked.
Finally, will this ABR thing lead to copycat situations where there will be an IBR (Indian business roundtable) and ABR (Amerindian business roundtable? How about a PBR (proletariat business roundtable)? How about FBR (Freddie business roundtable)? I need a piece of land myself. I think I am getting on in age and wouldn’t mind an oil block myself. I will sell it next month and by a new car.
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