Feb 11, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We regret that we are committed skeptics where Exxon is concerned and its interests and plans for those things that are beneficial to the welfare and future of all Guyana and every one of its citizens. On this matter about the Vice President (VP) Jagdeo’s stated public belief that the oil companies would be good for any consequential environmental damage or any other disaster, we are non-believers, confirmed atheists. We at this paper have absolutely no trust left that helps us to give Exxon or Hess or CNOOC the benefit of the doubt. We do not believe that Exxon will make good for any disaster that harms Guyana and Guyanese interests.
In the article captioned, “Jagdeo believes Exxon, CNOOC, and Hess will pick up insurance bill…but Guyana has no guarantee in writing” (KN February 10), both the VP’s public position and the exposing reality on the ground (nothing in writing to comfort) have been placed in the open. We have some doubts, more than a few, that Vice President Jagdeo harbours the same firm belief privately, or anything near the confidence, that he has stepped forward to attach to Exxon and the others. The Vice President may be many things, lots of them on the concerning side, but he is not a stupid man, far from it. Being the savvy man of the world, that he is, and by now a veteran presence and practitioner in the murky world of politics and one supposedly familiar with corporate priorities and practices, he should know better. We think that privately he does, but it is an indication of how far he and his party (and the worthless opposition) will go to pretend to think well of Exxon and company and that they will do well by Guyana, should such a time and circumstance, God forbid, come to pass that require the predatory oil companies to do right.
They will not. Not when the much-watched income statements and balance sheets of Exxon is so shakily perched. In the event of an oil-related disaster, the price tag could easily run into the hundreds of millions in United States dollars; it could even be billions, should there be immense spread that impact neighbours in the region. So, when that kind of money is involved, Guyana’s Vice President is guilty of misplaced trust in the good graces of Exxon’s top management that would be responsible for doling out millions in relief cash, while depleting the numbers of its own profitability. Or increasing the magnitude of losses.
We encourage our own Vice President, no stranger to the hard-nosed and the bare-knuckled, when such has to be the case. Surely, he is joking with this belief that he articulated. Surely, he is familiar with the long, dreadful, and devastating record of Exxon. We present one telling example for this nation’s Vice President to chew on and digest. We point him to the story of the Exxon Valdez and what happened in Alaska’ s Prince William Sound; as mentioned by us in the article under reference, the damage was both harrowing and extremely costly. But that is only part of the devastating story of Exxon, which most know, including Guyana’s trusting and hopeful Vice President.
There is another aspect of the Exxon Valdez nightmare that did not gain much public ventilation, and which has remained that way in the decades since. It is what we put before the Vice President, his government, and Guyana at large. It goes like this. After the Exxon Valdez’s wreckage, much noise was made about how much was awarded by the courts. But since the catastrophe, Exxon has waged a relentless battle to minimise its losses, even when such meant having to apply a vice to those that stood in its way, and added to its financial costs. Exxon fought the State of Alaska. Exxon challenged the U.S. Coast Guard. Exxon is still to settle fully and satisfactorily private claims against the company.
Guyana’s wise Vice President may believe in Exxon’s goodness in a costly crunch. We don’t. Not where Exxon and the rest are concerned. Not with how they have compromised and corrupted our leaders that they share the incredible with us. Not when an Exxon, when under financial pressure from the Exxon Valdez devastations, could actually challenge the Federal government of the United States of America. If it can confront America, it will crush Guyana. Vice President Jagdeo may see god in Exxon, and believe in such a god. We do not. We are infidels.
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