Oct 19, 2020 Letters
Reference is made to the article titled, “Payara license contains key environmental updates – Energy Department, EPA started process, as few safeguards seen in Liza-1” (SN October 18). A thought or two are shared.
It is clear that some solid, if not outstanding, work was done by Dr. Mark Bynoe and Dr. Vincent Adams of the DoE and EPA respectively. Since some of this was leveraged for more robust underpinnings of the Payara Licence executed by the PPP government, I think that, at least, it should have had the professional courtesy and consideration to acknowledge the work product of the two public servants named. The current administration has been quick to lambaste (sometimes correctly) the disturbing happenings under the auspices of the recently concluded coalition government. I sense that this is payback for the many, still fresh, elections traumas, and also of reciprocating the postures of the same coalition when it assumed office back in 2015, when sharp criticisms of the way that the PPP managed the business of the people were par for the course.
I think that when we descend to these levels at the level of the state, we are not about statecraft or statesmanship at all, but of petty politics and the rank malice that flows from such. We go nowhere like this, other than being sucked deeper into the usual crippling vortex. But, more to the point, it is disappointing that some other recommendations from the output of Drs. Bynoe and Adams were not found to be mandatory to Guyana’s interests and, hence, not up for discussion and negotiation when the Payara review occurred a few weeks ago.
Specifically, and as extracted from the SN article, I point to “when the final Payara Licence was signed recently, it omitted recommendations, such as 48-hours start-up flaring timeframe, that produced water be reinjected into the reservoirs rather than dumped into the ocean and it also kept the capping time at five days instead of the proposed three.”
Why and why not? These are the first questions that come to mind. Why did the PPP leaders, after all the post-signing fanfare, conceded and folded on these? Those recommendations could only have accrued to the benefit of Guyana. As is obvious, Exxon outmuscled and outmaneuvered PPP leaders on the things that would cost the company and subject it to more attention. And I would not be surprised if Exxon’s peerless Public Relations machine did not have a firm hand in the words uttered by the Guyanese politicians, who came before the nation to present it with, and demand celebrating, a pig in a bag. PPP leaders from the Vice President on down were bent on presenting their spin on the ostensible glitters of the Payara deal signed, regardless of its shortcomings and exposures for Guyana. In the propaganda department, they have done very well, as is the norm. It should be noticed that I make no mention of His Excellency, the President on this one. As I have read, and I think all Guyana by now, the Hon. Vice President, a mean machine all by himself, was not content to play second fiddle to a fifth wheel on Payara.
Last, I seem to recall that the PPP powers (I forgot which ones) did promise to share with the nation the nuts and bolts of the review done by that now elusive Scarlet Pimpernel, one Ms. Alison Redford of Alberta, Canada. She has flattered to deceive and there is something (lots of it) doubly troubling about what her review efforts actually represented. Why is that being withheld? Why the secrecy? To protect whom? And my last question is for the President himself: how about a little transparency, Excellency? When promises are made that are not intended to be kept, in whole or in part, it is better than they are never uttered. It makes fools of all involved.
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