The news reports from one internationally reputable media organization after another keeps coming and confirming the same message.
It is that ExxonMobil is on its deathbed and in the throes of financial death rattles. This is encouraging news on which Guyanese leaders should capitalize to get a more equitable deal for this country, and its peoples, so that they do not have to go and steal. They do not have to line up for bottom feeder jobs. Nor do they have to be forced to borrow or beg to get by from day to day.
But, from the corner of our eye, we detected a Guyanese rushing to the rescue of the grievously wounded oil giant. To our great astonishment, it is none other than the former president of the Republic, now its all-powerful Vice President, Bharat Jagdeo. He is busily engaged in his new starring roles, which are as rescuer of Exxon and then protector of this same once-great corporation that has laid waste to Guyana’s hospitality, goodwill, and hopes. While Exxon is struggling with existential throes on its deathbed, Vice President Bharat Jagdeo is the one coming forward round the clock, like Florence Nightingale, with bags of saline in hand.
He is the only Third World leader, who is so concerned and heartbroken to even raise a finger of assistance. But there he is weighed down by his transparent bags of life-giving saline in what is now a bewildering commitment to giving ExxonMobil a free pass when it is due none, deserves none. Not after how its leaders have treated us Guyanese, with their subtle insults, their tone deafness, and their dismissive and scornful reactions to our appeals for a more equitable, a fairer, share of our oil wealth. No! The company has to have all that it can rake in, while Guyanese are left to get by, however, they can manage.
When his struggling fellow countrymen and women desperately need economic oxygen, the Vice President is all on hands and knees in anxious vigil at Exxon’s bedside.
We are asking ourselves what is he going to do next? Pray and burst into copious tears for this selfish and predatory company? What is going on here? What is it that Guyanese should know, but don’t, about this example of extreme attentiveness by its own Vice President for this rapacious foreign company, while they themselves are hungry and broke, despite having all of this oil wealth right beneath their feet?
Perhaps, Guyanese need to acquaint themselves a shade more thoroughly with what transpired relative to the Kaieteur and Canje oil blocks. To cut a real fine point on this, several questions are best put on the table to determine what reaction they will get.
The first question is who has ownership of those two rich oil blocks? The second is why is this a mystery to Guyanese, and not made clearer, after all the commitments at transparency and accountability by the previous government and this current one? Then, there is the pivotal third inquiry: which foreign company has the knowhow and an interest to operate the two blocks?
At the local level, we certainly do not have the skills and expertise to make these blocks, long shrouded in secrecy, come to life and be moneymakers for the welfare of citizens of this country. But whatever it is that we lack, ExxonMobil have by the bucketful, and they charge an arm and a leg for such skills and the required technology. It is interesting that a bill of US$100M is floating around and waiting to claim ownership, as well as payment for services rendered. The fact that all of this is occurring outside the mainstream does not induce any degree of confidence in those Guyanese who care and wonder what is going on with these two blocks.
We make no association, arrive at no conclusions. All we are doing is presenting the facts of a real sickening financial story, while seeking any guidance we can get as to where things stand with those blocks. From the inception, our oil business has been plagued with mystery and uncertainty. The latest being the tenderness manifested by the Vice President for Exxon.
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