That’s what the name of the song confirms: everybody’s talking (at me)… The Global Watch people are talking through their reporting, but there is nothing, as in no responding at all. The Guyana government is talking in its own defense, and so did the country’s opposition through increasing its attacks, but still the deep, unmoving silence continues.
A host of other contributors have added voices and endless streams of opinions, positions, and criticisms–all intended to be seen as objective and authoritative–and there is not any stirring from the target that is mocked and vilified, denounced and insulted. Where is ExxonMobil in all of this?
There is its record of releases in the media before the world of what it has been about, and there is nothing about that dismal Guyanese contract, no official reaction to scorching developments.
Exxon has been content to speak of the things that are settled and finished, as far as it is concerned: earnings and profits and dividends, spending plans, and the rest of its multifaceted strategic visions.
It steadfastly refuses to be drawn into the debate, or any defending of its oil deal with Guyana.
Shabby and sickening, it is called, and a monument to extreme corporate banditry, especially of the unsuspecting and vulnerable. It is a position from which, we at this paper will not budge but will keep trumpeting to the heavens (and all the way to hell, if necessary).
Exxon has shown that it is untouched by the verbal and written missiles that rain hourly, and which demonizes its contractual terms relative to Guyana and its oil. The allegations range from stalking to overpowering to date raping, as insisted upon by the positions rushing forth from Guyanese pundits, prestige American media sources, and oil industry watchers, among countless others.
There are few saying or standing for any of the morsels enshrined in that Exxon contract, as highlighted by Global Watch. Chatham House took a thrust, and so does a thin band of Guyanese, who risk the rage of the roiled when they dare to say –it is over, move on, bide time, and then pounce, when the circumstances are favourable.
On the other hand, very few Guyanese are interested. None has the time of day for any sort of rationalizing any element of the detested contract. Almost the entire population of Guyana is up in arms. Even the outsiders are on the march and they come equipped with fearsome broadswords and battleaxes.
From beyond the horizon, like Genghis and Timur and Batu Khan, Global Watch emerged out of nowhere as the newest leader of the pack that howls at high notes. The outside missile launchers have struck nerve and sinew, with severe flinching occurring at this most sensitive of elections times.
And still ExxonMobil remains shrouded in thick, impenetrable, and untroubled silence. As the provisions of the contract relationship between Exxon and Guyana are emphasized and attacked, the company has responded in the manner that characterizes adversarial proceedings taken before the bar.
In the time-honoured manner, there has been not one word, not from senior leadership, not from its corporate press office, not from any of its sizable investors, who usually step forward to register objections to things environmental and about child labour and human rights and the rest. When money, big money, is involved, the word is mum.
That silence is inviolable on the pain of death, as any good defense counsel would instruct. Do not be so sure of position that the temptation to speak on behalf of self with one’s own side of the story is overwhelming.
But the authoritative guidance and insistence from its army of highly skilled attorneys must be that self-defense could lead to the self-incriminating. Stay cool, stay quiet, which is exactly what Exxon is doing.
We in Guyana have no need to any such cover, and we at this paper have no interest in being quiet. We challenge Exxon to do what is fair and reasonable, what is equitable and just. Invite Guyana back to the table of renegotiation, genuinely partner with its agents, and come up with a formula that is more balanced and more rewarding to Guyana, which could be more self-respecting for all Guyanese.
Even as we insist upon this, we recognize full well that Exxon will walk away with a pirate’s haul, for such is the vast richness of what comes out of the Guyanese ground. But, with renegotiation, the company gets to build some precious goodwill, while it gives Guyanese something for which to cheer excitedly about, and on which it could erect a solid and stable future, a real one.
Iike the song said, “banking over the northeast winds…” could lead somewhere positive. It is needed.
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