The chartered accountant, Mr. Nigel Hinds, who is a well known letter-writer to this newspaper had a missive published in Kaieteur News last Sunday captioned “Exxon is also robbing Guyana of its independent leaders and columnists.”
Mr. Hinds objects to the followings words in one of my columns; “I am bamboozled by the insane frequency of the condemnations of Exxon, but no condemnation of the hate Sanjeev said is currently threatening Guyana.” I hope Hinds sees the context in which the observation was made.
The context exists in a comparative framework. I would ask Hinds to read the words again. Here is the explanation.
In the context of the volume of sadistic exploitations in this country of poor Guyanese by wealthy Guyanese, of low income people by the status quo, I am confused by the insane frequency of criticism of Exxon’s flawed investment in this country, and the total silence by the very critics of Exxon of these sadistic happenings. What is difficult on the part of Hinds to understand this attitude of mine?
I will try simpler elucidation. I am contending that those who chastise the foreign oil investor from a nationalist perspective can be accused of double standards or cruel insensitivity, by ignoring the gruesome exploitation of poor Guyanese by wealthy Guyanese.
There is a dimension of practical, realistic life that people like Hinds and all those who are in an insane mood by their obsession with Exxon need to understand. Exxon’s leadership is not from Guyana. They don’t care about Guyanese. They came to make profits in a foreign land and they will exploit the local economy in barefaced ways. That is the reality of life.
Guyanese need to protect themselves by confronting one-sided foreign contracts, but at all times, Guyanese must understand that these investors are doing what all foreign investors do – exploit another land to which they do not belong. But if Guyanese can fault a foreign investor for taking advantage of their country, why are they silent when their own people, their very own people, exploit in the most dehumanising way, Guyanese themselves?
This is the context that Hinds missed in my column. The Exxon contract is flawed. I have written about that. But that is all Hinds writes about, and there are many like him. They appear on television and radio and the anticipated refrain is Exxon, Exxon, Exxon. What about the Draculean theme of Guyanese mistreating poor people in ways not found in any democratic country?
I can inform Hinds not of hundreds, but thousands of situations of sadistic mistreatment of Guyanese who have no one to help them. Hinds must join me in the logical condemnations of these situations, and I am willing to join him and his fellow Exxon denouncers.
But I am of the opinion that Hinds and all those who shout Exxon, Exxon, Exxon, do not care to voice even half a sentence or write even one word about the horrible wrongs perpetrated in Guyana by powerful people, rich folks, and those with status. And frankly, I believe it is because the Exxon denouncers have an agenda which is based on personal interests which they will acquire through the Exxon exposure. For this reason, I question their sincerity in their Exxon crusade.
Not for a moment will I write in support of the Exxon and Tullow contracts. I will not do so because those contracts exploit this country and its resources. However, I also believe, and know, there are tragic exploitations of poor Guyanese that have taken place in this country long before Exxon became an investor in Guyana, and are still taking place.
Hinds and all those Exxon denouncers must show their patriotic integrity and human rights character by protecting the working people, the ordinary masses, from these brutish situations.
I never heard a word from Hinds and his anti-Exxon crusaders about workers who die while on duty, and heartless Guyanese businessmen have not compensated their families. Some of these very beasts are far more inhuman than the Exxon bosses. Don’t those Hobbesian nightmares worry Hinds?
You can count on your fingers, the people who voice concerns about how cruel Guyanese are to other Guyanese, and Hinds is not one of them. I have not read anything from Hinds about what happens to disadvantaged Guyanese every day in this tragic land.
Hinds once was a fanatical supporter of the government. Years ago, he sent me an email upbraiding me for criticising APNU. Then he was an acidic critic of Jagdeo. Now he is the biggest fan of Jagdeo; tomorrow, he may be a cheerleader for Exxon. I will remain who I naturally am.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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