Nov 30, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – It is timely to remind again of an old-fashioned saying. It is: be careful of what is wished for, as it could come true. This is exactly what is happening in Guyana, with Exxon serving as the answer for the wishful thinking and wistful hoping of many a Guyanese.
It was the wistful recollection by some of what the ‘White man’ represented since Guyana’s own leaders are so lacking in what it takes to do the job and take this nation along a different path. While the wishful thinking was only ‘if the White man come back and run the country, it would be better’. Well, it has happened by degrees, and it is going to continue to happen in increasing numbers if White men (and women) coming here to overrun this country, sometimes not for the better. Our leaders would be figureheads prancing around in self-importance, but actually important for nothing other than window dressing. They have their part to play in a broadening charade, one which Exxon has made possible as chief mover and shaker.
At the heart of Guyana are the many and varied forms of this new colonialism. It is all related to oil, and ExxonMobil is always in the middle, as driving force, influential partner, a powerful sleeping one. Exxon is the honey, and Guyanese politicians and their carefully chosen agents about the money. It is the shadowy tangled web that becomes understandable from time to time, when bright lights are shone upon all the networks and dealings and players.
Here are some specific entities, as identified by this publication. There is Hess Corporation and Schlumberger and American Airlines and Jet Blue and the Hilton people and, of recent, Baker Hughes, to name just a few. It is of fair winds bringing the fair to our shores with their business plans and deep pockets and that magnet that never fail to stir interest: jobs for the locals.
That plays well; and, of course, the downstream benefits of some roads, community playgrounds and charity donations. The White men who come are very good at playing to the poverty crowd. It is the modern form of white paternalism, and we here fall for its crumbs and hymns. We are so brainwashed that we end up singing the Whiteman’s hymns to drown out any limited local opposition that may dare to stand against. Local leaders have their armies of enforcers and propagandists to ensure that interference is kept to a minimum and out of sight and hearing. This is another treacherous part of the new colonialism, where locals beat down on locals, so that the outsiders can have their way.
In Colombia, one Pablo Escobar was famed for spreading his ill-gotten gains around with the peasants, with others rushing to imitate. The slave traders did that, too, through their benevolent societies and alms giving. And they – whether trafficker, slaver or exploiter – always had champions in the places where they flourish to sing praises and keep the locals in order. Foreign companies do so, too, since to make a 10 million dollar donation here on this project and another over there for that one is good public relations that delights the simple country folk and leave them eating out of the hand of the Exxon(s) of the world. Partnership is the newer form (and euphemism) of slavery and indentureship. It is also a very cheap way to do something that costs almost nothing and reap a bonanza of good feeling and fierce grassroots support. Pablo perfected that and Exxon and the other corporate powers are even more adept at working that game for their advantage.
Here is another manner in which the new colonialism flourishes: compromise the local political leaders and they are thus held hostage. They cannot speak out; they cannot stand in resistance; and they cannot turn against for fear of self-incrimination. The same goes for the droves of insiders and middlemen who are well-greased and are overjoyed to serve as guardians of the White man’s interest. In the new colonialism (like the old ones), it is always the illiterates and innocents and impoverished who come up short. They are the masses.
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