Jul 16, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Gas-to-shore is over. It was over before it started. The official expenditures in time and energy to address nuisances had to be borne, which means payment for observing the associated mechanics and cosmetics. It is a cheap price to be paid, and the PPP government readily pays it as part of the masquerade. No harm, no foul, and it is already a done deal, regardless of what is said, so we all should move on, except it is not so for some.
Citizenship comes with some sacred obligations. And if numbering among those is a duty to contest and confront, then so it is for a few. Let the chips reign down, for what else can leaders do, even if that amplifies into the worst ordeals. The Guyanese who lost out would be the ones on the part of the ladder that is below the low water level. It is a lot of people, but they have no champions in their corner, no sponsors for their cause.
Political champions and leadership sponsors are already booked and bought out by those with deep pockets from the outside, those with the economic muscle inside Guyana. The former would be oil companies; the latter function under that bland, harmless tag – private sector. Except that, it is neither bland nor harmless, but most powerful and extremely dangerous. What its members (business cabal circle) can partner in, or wrest from, or pay for, compliments of cash addicted politicians (leaders, they call themselves) means that poorer, weaker Guyanese remain always on the receiving end of the rip-offs and rogueries of this nation’s commercial-political complex. The rich benefits of the members of this complex are extravagant and endless; so, too, is the dreadfulness and wretchedness on the ordinary rank and file citizen left on the hostage and paying ends of this grand oil bargain. Gas-to-shore is but one of many more to come.
The insiders already have the blueprints lodged in their heads on how to monopolise the distribution of all related Natural gas business to feed the national demand. It is an incredibly prosperous business set-up for the next several decades for those controlling the flows and calling the shots. There is much attention and some intensity brought to bear on that billion-dollar project price tag, but that is still relative chickenfeed money, and it is not going to be US$900M, but most likely closer to 25 percent to 40 percent more, by the time the commercial-political complex is done with it. Because every step of the way, there will be opportunity to pad and to create what is not there and what is not needed, and then to submit in the tens and hundreds of millions more than the original estimated cost.
Incidentally, on the matter of money, it is but a small bother for the foreign oil powers, of which Exxon is the spearhead. The numbers look like this: US$1M a year for each parliamentary lawmaker in this country, and it is over. For less than a hundred million US annually, Guyana’s oil is a steal. It is a bigger steal, when that expense is booked under whatever billing that suits Exxon’s fancy, and for which we are on the hook. If this is not one of the biggest steals ever, then nothing else qualifies for that dubious honour. The kicker is that poor ignorant Guyanese would be none the wiser, and still drowning too much in their petty passions and prejudicial preoccupations to understand the full import of what has happened to them.
We summarise what it means. A crooked government supported by more private sector crooks. There is no opposition, but one going through the motions. No media to speak of, no civil society to recommend to anyone, not even an honest religious presence. On the nation’s oil, poor Guyanese have failed dreams, shattered hopes. Meanwhile, the super elites grow richer, more powerful.
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