If anybody thinks that the opposition is lacking in political astuteness, they should think again. If any Guyanese believes that the opposition lacks business wisdom, then he or she needs an education of the nuances and nexuses that flow from the convergence of business and political interests.
The much shredded, much denounced, much scorned Exxon oil contract, from the lips of just about everyone furnishes the context and proof.
The Reuters article dated January 20, tells the whole story in its unambiguous headline: “Guyana opposition candidate pledges to keep Exxon contract intact.” And that should calm the storms that raged, and still rages, across incensed Guyana, point out to the skeptics that Guyana’s back is to the wall and it is vulnerable, and that the PPP, like the PNC, has no say, no choice, no options in this matter involving the Exxon contract.
All the legal men and accounting men, who have done very diligent work in stripping the nuts and bolts of that bone-in-the-throat contract know this. All the political groups, all the citizens groups and civic groups and assorted groups that have taken strenuous and steely objection to the terms of the contract know, maybe not as much as the lawyers, but they know enough to appreciate that the document is so ironclad as to be unchallengeable anywhere.
Thus, the harping and carping of the critics are just so much empty air of an overheated variety, and which drags down further, instead of gathering heads together to live with it, work with it, and seek possible openings to rehabilitate it, in partnership with Exxon.
A lot of time and energy have been exhausted over the inevitable place where the opposition PPP now finds itself. For “to keep the contract intact” is commonsense and the height of pragmatism by the opposition. It is an admission of where things stand and which, despite the party’s known criticisms, it must find a way to exist with, should the electoral opportunity arise and result in power.
While this is unfolding and is not surprising in some quarters, the current focus of Guyanese is on the contract itself. But that is only one part of the story, the obvious one, the easy one to bite on and pronounce on its features, which have encountered so many outraged objections.
For there was another piece of the Reuters story, which spoke of the US$230 million scheduled to come into the Guyanese coffers this year. We do acknowledge that it is a pittance of what ought to have come, but it is counterproductive to keep crying over that lost love, as it is now history and this nation must move forward with the best use of what comes.
Should that number hold it is not chicken feed money. At G$220:1 (or thereabouts), that amounts to a significant sum of money, relatively speaking, and to the tune of tens of billions of Guyana dollars. Prudent heads have to be in place, while sticky paws must be kept in sight, so that everyone can shout loudly and insistently, by isolating rogues who harbour ideas.
Better ideas from the political managers could do much good in many needed places. They do not need to be reassembled and retold here, since they are so well known.
It is good that the leadership of the main opposition, a serious and formidable contender for governance of this nation, has arrived at the place that it did regarding the Exxon oil contract. That is history, it is untouchable, it is inviolable in the sacrosanct nature of contracts, which is not going to change. It is, therefore, more constructive to focus and channel programmes and energies on how to maximize cash that comes during this year.
To be sure, it is not a cascade, but a trickle. Still, that trickle could be made to work wonders here, given the small population of this country.
The challenge for leaders is to deal with the money honestly, represent the people (all of them) cleanly, and there is potential to get somewhere quickly. This is an integral aspect of the trouble with us here in Guyana: we have failed, long before the oil Powerball, to make the best use of that which lies under the land, above it, around it, and while all were well within the grasp. This cannot be allowed to happen again this time with the oil.
Unlike timber and fisheries and development loans and projects, the oil is not endless. It is a depleting blessing and, if mishandled and misdirected for unscrupulous purposes, before we know it, it would be gone.
Feb 26, 2020Narayan Ramdhani (The Kings University) and Priyanna Ramdhani (Olds College) were both selected to represent the Province of Alberta at CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) national...
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