Feb 16, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – It is no surprise that groups of powerful people have so many problems with Dr. Vincent Adams, former head of Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after a decade-long stop in the United States at its Department of Energy, among other places. He came here and the reports are that he caused discomfort for both the former coalition government and current PPP governors. It goes without saying that a lot of the anxieties and alarms (most likely anger, too) could be directly traceable to the influential people at the helm of ExxonMobil, who had no use for him, and threw around their weight behind the scenes to be rid of him. Well, from all indications, they have let a genie out of the bottle in the presence, voice, and insights coming from Dr. Adams. For as the saying goes: you can’t keep a good man down; and Vincent Adams is such a man to the consternation of the PPP and its Exxon collaborators.
The first thing that all Guyanese, regardless of political outlook, must come to grips with, is that Dr. Adams is a Guyanese who stands highly regarded relative to knowledge and expertise of matters in the world of oil. He has indicated his readiness to serve his homeland, but our weak and troubled political leaders fear making use of his skills. They fear his fearlessness in standing up for what protects Guyana, and what could be clean, and what just may help the citizens of this country to prosper. But he is an unwanted man for those very same reasons, he would go against the tide of silence and cover-up and suspicious cooperation.
Unsurprisingly, now that it is the PPP’s turn to run this country, and oversee its oil wealth, it has a problem on its hands in the presence of Dr. Adams, or any that is like him. Party leaders scrambled around to find a way to put him out to pasture, and there he stands, but unsilenced and uncowed. From all appearances, this seems to be in response to the dictates of Exxon’s powers, which the party came up with under the banner of ‘political appointee.’ After the temporary anaesthetic of sending the man, this highly qualified and experienced Guyanese, on leave, the thinking was that Guyanese would forget and time and distance would smooth noises over his departure. That did succeed in part and for a time. But now there is hell to pay, for there is Vincent Adams, in the form of the proverbial gadfly, that stings like a bee and floats like a butterfly.
This bee and butterfly is also talking up a storm and almost daily. What this knowledgeable, and now irrepressible Guyanese petroleum expert, is doing is taking to the media hustings and articulating oil wisdoms of a profound nature, and to a degree neither seen nor heard here, since the hazy inception of our fabulous oil discoveries. He has enlightened this nation on the dangers involved in gas flaring. He has informed Guyanese watchers and listeners about heavy water releases and the high potential for severe damage. And before we go on with more, it should be noted that those who had damned and dismissed him have been utterly silent with any rebuttal, or countering public relations and propaganda damage control. What the man has been saying in those, and several other areas, is that we have problems, and that we are blinding ourselves to reality, by going about the management of our oil wealth in a nonchalant way that is going to come back to haunt us.
And more recently, Dr. Adams has recommended that the terribly unfavourable Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) model be worked around, by placing emphasis and energy in other areas that offer more advantageous opportunities for Guyana to right its oil finances and come out better than before. Now he has put on the table before PPP leaders, who have to spearhead the charge that the more rewarding priority and focus must be on royalties and taxes. In doing so, he has placed the PPP in a bind, since it does not want to challenge Exxon. He has also put Exxon on notice that he is not going anywhere, and will be an outspoken thorn in the sides of them and the government for a time to come. And last, Dr. Adams called for the EPA Director to have a seat in the cabinet. That is a double-edged one, because if the director is a party hack, then Guyana’s goose is cooked and sold off in rich appetising chunks to the predatory oil companies.
As we ponder what comes from this Guyanese, we are comforted that there are a few Guyanese, who will call things as they see them with this oil of ours, and let the chips fall where they do. Obviously, this unsettles PPP leaders and their Exxon partners. Whatever it is, Dr. Adams is not easing up, but tightening the screws on government leaders, through daily oil wisdoms shared. They enlighten the population, and they torment politicians.
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