Time to move on: first oil was yesterday, good for the significance of the moment, but already with the archival value of an old newspaper. Time to look ahead: to next oil, as in all of it, every last barrel that waits impatiently for release.
That is the positive part of the story, as this is Guyana with all its political mischief makers lurking and licking lips at the anticipated juicy petroleum chops. Those political miscreants and their mischiefs have terrorised this nation, since the hazy dream transformed into now proven reality.
Could this be happening in our lifetime? To the oil flow, yes; and to the feared mischiefs, despite the sweet promises, yes, too. So what will it be?
Guyanese have to change gears if they are going to get anywhere to the economic nectar, with a chance of tasting its financial sweetness. The first gear of all that is wrong with the money terms, and the not unjustified fears over the potential iniquities of political overseers have been engaged long and loud, if not pushed to the limit; the nation is left limp, if not leery of the negatives that could occur.
It is time now to shift to a higher gear, possibly bypassing second. For all agree that there must be sharp uninterrupted vigilance by an astute and equipped citizenry. That is good, but not very helpful in preventing anything, or of influencing change of minds and hearts of those who stand astride of the nation’s gifts from the earth.
No! The higher gear is to the quicker cycles and ratios to that of established mechanisms that monitor everything that flows from the wells, where the proceeds end up, and who does what with them.
The first rule is this: don’t trust them; not this one or that; not old ones, not new ones. Here is the bottom line: none of them: no secrecy, only transparency. For starters, the politicians are so skilled at the stealing game that they could lift one’s underwear and the wearer would be none the wiser for the loss.
In the next instance, the newcomers, should they obtain any electoral success, have little to zero experience of being anywhere near anything quarter this magnitude. There is a cross section of businesspeople, lawyers, accountants, and assorted others, but they are all local, and of a distinctly parochial in nature.
Their exposures and outlooks are narrow and limited; look carefully and emotionlessly at the cohort of local newcomers and this is their pedigree.
Those citizens who care dearly about everything related to local oil must rise to the occasion and GET INVOLVED. If this means that they must transform into loudmouths, busybodies, and outright nuisances, then so be it.
Those who look with distaste and discomfort upon their agitations will use all manner of derogatory labels to confine them and dismiss them, but they must persevere, with unswerving intentions to prevail.
The oil is not any one man or one group’s inheritance; it is of us, too, all of us. Therefore, at bottom, this is simply about looking out for one’s interest in a very public way. If it has to be in an aggressive way, then that it is how it must be, since the polite, with cap in hand, and toeing the line are not going to get anywhere or move anyone.
We heard and know enough about the rapacity of foreign oil presences, with ExxonMobil ruling the roost as chief bogeyman. It is deserving, but that is past and not going to mean anything.
What is material and timely is for interested and committed private citizens to observe, monitor closely, and follow like a shadow, every move of local political oil managers.
Access to information is key. Awareness and hair-trigger sensitivity to the oil movement and money movement are very important, if there is hope of being on top of this thing. It is neither part time nor for the hesitant nor the squeamish.
And, of course, it is not for the venal and those prone to ethical dilemmas. That has been the kiss of death in very other oil place. Without a doubt, it would be the exact same here, too.
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