Apr 21, 2021 Letters
I refer to the article titled, “Opposition demands urgent meeting with ExxonMobil over ‘poor performance’” (KN April 19). Though way overdue, I applaud loudly. Other thoughts follow, which may cause some nervousness here, especially on the part of leaders of the PPP government and their Exxon partners.
The April 15 letter addressed to ExxonMobil’s Country Manager, Mr. Alistair Routledge, should be the first salvo across Exxon’s bow, with many more promised as part of concerted pressures brought to bear on Exxon to do right by Guyana. Or else…! This unacceptable state of “lingering malfunctioning of equipment” must stop. Or stop the damn operations. I put this on the table: the management of ExxonMobil would not dare to make those continuing mistakes in America, or in other Eurocentric lands. It may get away with one or two malfunctions, but not three and four of the same thing happening monotonously. Plus who knows what else is happening out there, under Exxon’s auspices and the collaborating PPP’s protective and secrecy-driven watch.
Editor, I found it significant that Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon, discovered some belated fire and spirit. It was not subtle, but came in the blunt reminder that, “the APNU+AFC…represents almost half of the Guyanese population in the National Assembly.” I think that the Opposition Leader was being rather kind: for his umbrella group, in fact, represents almost half the breathing population of the whole of Guyana. I am trying not to detect a veiled caution in there, but I think that is present. Or, to put a bit more sharply, that half of the population will not sit back quietly and allow Exxon to make fools of us, or take advantage of us, or to play costly and dangerous games with our environment and prospects. This is what I expect from the opposition, and I want to hear and see and read more along these unequivocal lines.
In view of the step taken, I think that Mr. Harmon has served notice to Mr. Routledge that he has to start earning his money. I would recommend to Mr. Joseph Harmon and the opposition coalition that should Mr. Routledge fail to respond with the courtesies due, or he is impatient and less than completely listening and receptive, then preparations be readied to marshal forces to send those exploiting, condescending, and patronising one unambiguous message: don’t mess with us! Challenge us at your own risk. This had better not be that ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum that the arrogant Country Manager had delivered to PPP leaders a little while back. It is time to read him and his people the Riot Act, and that business is meant.
If Mr. Routledge and his people wish to see people come out and agitate, then he would be responsible. I stand ready to join in the exercise of that democratic and patriotic right. It is time that this confounded nonsense stops. We wait on Mr. Alistair Routledge, as the ball is in his court.
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