Where have all the flowers gone? To whom has all the honey and milk gone? In all three sweet, richly perfumed instances, it is certainly not to Guyanese, be they individual citizens or business interests or even state identified partners.
The flowers and the milk and honey of this land all go to foreigners. It is why there are the unceasing clamors over local content involvement, where even the pittances of a minority stake in joint ventures would be found desirable and acceptable.
All of this is said because of the latest revelation, compliments of the cascading and scorching exposures (angering, too) of Kaieteur News’ efforts and coverage. These excesses seem never to end, never to let up in frequency or degree or in the schemes tabled and finalized to gouge out the eyes of this country, to rip its economic guts into shreds.
For there is the newest development involving one of the oldest poster boys, the arrogant Rusal, this visionary, rapacious corporate beast that is an untamed Russian Bear prowling in Guyana’s rich pantries.
Rusal has shown itself to be visionary, but in yet another distressing way at the expense of the Guyanese people, the Guyanese coffers. The GRA is lesser for it, the domestic fuel competition is poorer for it, the ordinary consumer out there is worse off because of this announcement of this latest, rich giveaway.
Duty free fuel imported under corporate concessions for industrial purposes (rightly so) stand as the evidence tendered by this publication, with the retailing rearrangement and exploitation (vulgarly so, unacceptably so, and criminally so) of those same imports jostling with the local boys for local market share in the local market place. Local content, it is not.
Where does the greed and rapine stop? What else is there to discover and to relay to a disbelieving nation of the blood of this land bartered away? Bartered away for what? The facts point to one insult after another: of workers trampled upon and demeaned, of a government (successive ones) and a nation cornered and squeezed, and as if those are not enough, then of the resorting to low trickeries and high threats.
It is not profitable, has not been so for a long time, even when so much has been given, so much extracted, so much taken away. According to the company, it has nothing on the positive side of the ledger to show for its years of industry.
Of course, that hinges on who is doing the books, what is placed in there, how many books are involved, and which books are presented for local consumption.
And as if to justify its unilateral and harsh labor relations actions, and as supposedly corroborated by laments of low to no margins, there is that jarring, violence-infused high threat of: time to leave. Having taken the best out of the ground and the best years out of some once-rich areas, it is the wail of this is not working out.
As a sword of Damocles, there is no equivalent for effectiveness, since hundreds of jobs are involved, as well as the downstream impacts to be considered in a long-distressed locale.
The Rusal(s) of the world are so craven and callous, they would take all the way to the last flea from an unsuspecting dog and then kick it in the bargain. That is what is being done to Guyana, again and again, and not only from Russian brethren, but at the hands of all these business buccaneers that plot on how to prey upon the disadvantaged vulnerable.
Duty free fuel recycled for retail to currently oil-starved Guyanese is but the latest example of these corporate presences that take and take and give nothing, but the measliest of alms to an impoverished nation.
It is the worst kind, the most deplorable, of paternalism and patronizing. Perhaps the country would be better off cutting its losses.
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