Think about a situation in which you are employed as a labourer. The boss man promises that he will pay you $5000 per day. But after you have completed a day’s work, your employer hands you $1,000. How are you going to feel?
Will you take it and just say, “Well at least I still got something? Or will you protest for your entitlement? I am sure that you would take the latter position, because to pay you $1,000 is to rob you blindly.
Yet, many Guyanese are prepared to overlook what is the worst deal in the history of oil agreements. They are prepared to ignore the fact that the government sold out our birthright when it inked that deal with Exxon Mobil.
Instead of protesting, many people are simply hoping that even with the 2% royalties and the 12.5% take from profit oil that they will still get something rather than nothing. They are not concerned about the fact that what the country will be receiving amounts to daylight robbery.
“It’s still better than nothing…,” is what many people are saying. A multinational corporation comes here and robs you of your birthright and all you can say is that it is still better than having nothing.
It is like someone coming into your house, throwing you out on the streets and providing a tent for you to live and all you can say that it better than not having anything over your head.
Guyana is a poor country because of this type of thinking. We are poor because for years we have allowed all manner of foreign companies to come here, take advantage of us and when they leave, we are still poor. After these firms would have plundered our resources, we comfort ourselves with the thought that we got some benefits, notwithstanding we were robbed blindly.
Once is a mistake, twice is a choice. The government has made its choice. Not satisfied with the pitiful 2% royalty it signed with Exxon, it went to another company and signed a cost recoverable royalty. Those who want to see this as a mistake can see it as mistake. I view it as a choice.
The government has made its choice; the people have made their choice and I have made mine. As far as I am concerned, I have made a decision not to vote at the 2020 elections. I have no intention of doing so because it is my personal and private form of protest against this sell-out of the country’s birthright.
I am not going to allow my intelligence to be insulted. One man went on radio and said he thought that the US$18M signing bonus was a gift. What a thing to say! Since when governments receive gifts from oil companies? Well if this money was a gift to the government, why was it not passed through the Consolidated Fund immediately? Why was it placed in an interest-bearing account at the Bank of Guyana?
I am saying to all the politicians out there not to come to me with that jazz about national security considerations. Do not also come and tell me what you are going to do for me with the oil revenues. Come to me and tell me that you have decided to annul the contract.
Confirm for me whether the Cabinet and the President were aware of the contract. If they were not aware, then in my estimation this contract is not valid. It is void. A contract of that nature and of that importance should be authorized by Cabinet and the President. If Cabinet did not pronounce on the contract and if the President did not authorize its signature, then it is not valid, plain and simple.
Eighty percent of the Guyanese people have expressed the view that Guyana did not get a good deal. But most of them are not going to press for changes. They are content with getting something.
I wish luck to all those who wish to be content with the contract because of political loyalties. I hope you get the good life which you are promised. I gone!
(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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