Oct 14, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – When a group of individuals gather, put their heads together, and come up with a certain approach to conduct their business secretly, that is usually the first clue provided that something is afoot, that things are not on the up and up. When they reach and settle for the conclusion that a shell company serves their purposes best, that confirms that the conspiratorial men are up to no good. That is what has happened and where Guyanese are, with our oil in general, and the rich Canje and Kaieteur oil blocks in particular.
A ‘shell company’ could be generally described as a business entity created for some commercial purpose, which does not have to be illegal. Outside of abstract definitions, there is the real world of shell companies and the reputation they have attracted, the scurrilous records compiled over long years from lengthier underhanded practices. It is one best captured by the word ‘notoriety’ with deception being the uppermost, objective.
And, however, the document trail of related records is analyzed and interpreted, there is one place where all discussions terminate. That is what has happened with the awards of and the subsequent business dealings associated with Guyana’s Canje and Kaieteur oil blocks which reek of the conspiratorial, the unethical, and the outright criminal.
To begin with, there is the closed circle of trusted players deciding on who will be responsible for doing what, and how those duties are executed. This is accompanied by stubborn efforts to maintain secrecy as to identities, objectives, and actions actually taken, which are all conducted under a tight canopy of cunning camouflages. In the corporate world, this is normally of the personally self-enhancing, even if such means that standing corporate policies and procedures have to be violated, and the laws of the land breached.
In Guyana, what has occurred with the Canje and Kaieteur oil blocks points unerringly to the skillful self-enriching of this country’s political leadership across the board. Along with the trusted middlemen, all benefit hugely from the billions of U.S. dollars that are represented by those two fabulously rich Guyanese oil blocks. Shell companies facilitate the flow of assets from the state (Guyana) to the recipients, who are well-tutored in the specific criminal concealment roles they have to play.
One shell company is bad enough and suspicious, especially when the concealed and the unknown are part of mix, and which made necessary going to the trouble to be careful in crossing ‘tees’ and dotting ‘I’s’ so that there is the standard paperwork and official records, which give the out of sight and under the table activities the appearance of a sheen of shaky legitimacy. Except that in the case of Guyana, such is not the case at all. Not when secrecy has abounded. Not when involved political leaders have not been forthcoming, but immovably silent. Not when the constitutional check and balance of an opposition (once in government, and privy to documents, as well as responsible for oversight) pretends at similar dumbness through uninterrupted ambivalence.
As said in the preceding paragraph, one shell company with Guyana’s oil raises alarms, particularly in the light of the buzzword of ‘transparency’ being bandied about effortlessly by the new president. The president may be new, but what is being covered up via a shell company is as old as man, perhaps older than the profession of political prostitution, which rages in Guyana and ought to be legalized, given what has happened with the Canje and Kaieteur oil blocks.
We say this because the henchmen doing the dirty oil business for the PPP leadership needed to establish more than one shell companies. The result is secrecy piled upon secrecy, which is further compounded by the registering of companies involved in robbing Guyanese of those oil blocks in jurisdictions that do not disclose any details on anything (anything) concerning those blocks.
When criminally-inclined political leaders go to great lengths to operate this way, then only the worst can be imagined, which is now confirmed. Significant ownership shares in those blocks end up with Exxon, with everybody in the criminal political and company conspiracy richer. Meanwhile, Guyanese are cheated again, made poorer again. Yet there is hardly any stirring.
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