Apr 17, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We shout out our position at this publication before all Guyana and the world: SHUT THIS FAULTY EXXON GAS COMPRESSOR DOWN. SHUT IT DOWN NOW UNTIL IT CAN BE FULLY AND CERTIFIABLY FIXED AND PERFORMING COMPLETELY SATISFACTORILY. We cannot be clearer than that, and we cannot be more concerned and angrier about this state of affairs at the wellhead.
We need the oil production for the related stream of revenue monies. We could use those revenue streams from our oil treasure to do so many good things for the citizens of this country. But that is possible, only if our leaders in government put them to the best possible use through honest management of the cash flows from this natural resource.
However, Guyana does not need the uncertainty of a FIFTH failure of this troubled gas compressor. It has not been once or twice, but all of FOUR malfunctions to date; and this piece of equipment just came back from lengthy repairs in Germany. Some of this was what was covered in our article titled, “Exxon’s malfunctioning gas compressor an unacceptable danger to Guyana, the Caribbean – Int’l lawyer” (KN April 15). It is a clear present and continuing danger to which our leaders in the PPP government seem unconscious of and unconcerned about, given the sloth of any sharp, condemning, and determined reactions.
Those reactions should be: ‘Enough is enough. This thing is not working.’ And ‘we don’t want to hear about repairs and fixes.’ And, ‘it is better that we shut down now and wait for the new gas compressor, which was promised for the end of this year, than to continue with this malfunctioning piece of equipment and be sorry, very sorry.’ Our final position is: GET THIS THING OUT OF HERE BECAUSE IT WOULD IMPACT NEGATIVELY NOT JUST GUYANA, BUT A LONG AND BROAD TRACK OF THE CARIBBEAN.
Instead of such unmistakable and unswerving leadership agitations and objections from the PPP/C Government’s oil czar, Vice President, Dr. Bharat Jagdeo, what we have had is the near silence of an occasional pathetic whimper. It is a crying shame that we have failed to send the strongest and most ferocious messages to the head honchos at Exxon from Country Manager, Alistair Routledge, all the way to CEO Darren Woods, and then over his head to his Board of Directors and shareholders.
The latter would be with direct aim taken at his climate conscious big shareholding investors. The message has to be: this compressor is not working, and there is the great risk and still greater probability that it could blow up in Guyana’s face and wipeout any prospects that we had in our oil discoveries.
As always, Exxon would pick up its pieces and pack its bags, and leave us holding the baggage of liabilities for any environmental disasters. We would be stuck here, and we could be looking, not at a mountain of money to come our way, but at a mountain of debt hanging over our heads, and draining our expectations and spirits. It is why we have pressed, time and again, for full coverage insurance from the parent companies to protect us in the event of an oil spill, and only God knows what follows from such a catastrophe. It is not the remote possibility of an imaginary catastrophe, since this is real and could be nearer than we think or could anticipate.
We have no desire to be prophets of doom, for that is not our role. Rather, it is to be about the prudence of commonsense, by exercising what is soaked through and through, in what is protective to our interests and that of future generations; what is founded on genuine concern for the welfare of our CARICOM brothers and neighbours; and what can only come about through the manifestation of wise leadership discretions. The problem is that, to this point, those have been noticeably lacking, largely not forthcoming.
Let us put this another way: when we consider what has already happened, through the repeated failures (four to this point), do we really want to be presented with and presiding over a possible FOURTH malfunction? Where is President Irfaan Ali? Where is CARICOM when its membership is so menaced? Where is CARICOM when the monoculture nations (tourism) under its umbrella could be laid to waste, through a devastating Guyanese oil spill? That is where, there is a public concern and pressuring CARICOM with what is going on here in Guyana will urge them to act. One needs to take into consideration that when the pristine beaches and natural marine wonders and beauties of its member countries could be seriously jeopardised and citizens’ livelihood is endangered, then that is a great need of concern and requires urgent attention.
We shouldn’t have to, but why do we have to go to these lengths to enlighten Guyana and CARICOM countries and the world as to the high risks with what is going on here? We are not crying wolf or shouting fire in the crowded cinema, when there is neither present. We are not that reckless or that irresponsible or so unpatriotic. It is because of the very fact that we are so Guyana-centric that we raise these legitimate alarms, because of not receiving any reassuring signals or sounds from either President Ali or his oil czar, Vice President Jagdeo. We will not be deterred, and we will never be cowed. We will continue to sound the alarm at every opportunity until something gives. That alarm is, wait for a new compressor and shut this thing down, right now! It is better to be poor now with some oil promise in the future than to gamble with the fates and condemn the hopeful people of this country to many lifetimes of nothing.
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