Feb 21, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Which patriotic Guyanese concerned about the present and long-term welfare of Guyana, and its citizens and their prospects could have a problem with a nationally minded call to shutdown Exxon’s operations until it fixes the gas flaring problem? We would have thought that there is none, but there are more than a few, of whom one body and its Guyanese spokesperson went public to voice condemnation of the call for Exxon to be forced to shut down its operations and address the disturbing gas flaring issue.
For some mysterious reason that cannot be with the best for Guyana at heart, the President of Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC), Mr. Manniram Prashad, took exception to what the former head of this country’s EPA, Dr. Vincent Adams, had publicly recommended. That is, close Exxon’s production down until it does the right thing, what circumstances compel that it do, given what is happening and where things stand with gas flaring at the wells and into the atmosphere 125 miles out from our shores. GOGEC’s president was of the stance that Dr. Adams’ position was “extreme” (KN February 20).
Surely, this can’t be happening? Surely, no Guyanese should take offense at what is protective of Guyana’s wellbeing and its present and future prospects? What could be wrong about that call from Dr. Adams? What is so “extreme” about it? Let us be as clear as we can, by reminding all Guyana, and the rest of the interested world, that this is how powerful and slick oil companies operate, what deep-pocketed oil majors promise so much that local elites and the locally well-positioned can take advantage of oil developments that they are no longer prone to either reason or what should be about country first and all citizens always.
Rather, it is about what helps their case, their visions, their drives, their possible profits. The history of oil and the presence of the Exxon(s) of the world have left a litany of political leadership compromises and corruptions, local elite capture, and reciprocal citizen hostilities in divided societies. We invite those who agree and those who disagree to examine our current circumstances, and challenge us at this paper regarding the accuracy (or lack of it) on what has happened and continues to unfold right here and right now.
Our political leaders cannot speak, because they are shackled and made to sit down like docile prisoners. This is the self-incrimination that their oil misdeeds have plastered on their foreheads and piled upon their pathetic heads. Their knees cannot hold them up, so that they can stand up to Exxon and the others. Our local elites, operating under one agency construct after another have already sold their souls for the streams of silver held out enticingly by Exxon. It is a sad and grim day, when one Guyanese sees it fit to confront another Guyanese in defense of a predatory and arrogant foreign oil company.
This is what the oil powers have done in Nigeria (where North and South are in a state of virtual civil war). This is what was executed in Angola (how well the cronies of father and daughter De Santos fared). This is what is at work right next door in Venezuela (where those neighbours rail and rage at each other, then rampage against those who stand for something). It is becoming clearer and clearer that savvy Exxon has laid the groundwork well by sowing same divisive seeds here that pit Guyanese against Guyanese.
Surely, there has to be something that is about country left. The only way that we are prepared to interpret GOGEC’s leader position about the call for shutdown being “extreme” is that he lost his head for a moment, forgot what should always come first, and got carried away in the slipstream of his agency’s priorities. We hate to say this, but we think that we must, as we owe this to our Guyanese brothers and sisters: From the perspective of GOGEC’s chief, Exxon’s excesses, Exxon’s continuity, and Exxon’s peace, regardless with what it does out there, must be overlooked, even condoned. Even when it has been recklessly negligent, definitely indifferent, and terribly unresponsive, the company must be given its way to do as it pleases. It must not be angered, or disturbed, or interrupted. We disagree. We are as one with Dr. Adams on Guyana’s shutting down of Exxon’s operations until it fixes its faulty gas compressor. It has had enough experience, enough missteps. Time for us to get real, by drawing hard, immovable lines with Exxon and others.
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