Jul 18, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Two lead articles in last Wednesday’s edition of this paper confirmed what we have been saying all along, and with increasing intensity. The first one was, “Exxon concedes renewable cheaper, cleaner direction the world is heading” and the second “Systems to realise maximum value in Guyana’s oil sector weak – Int’l body” (KN July 14). Instead of saying, we told you so, we let others do the talking. What they have to say conveys the truths of what we have been insisting now characterise this country’s oil sector. It promises the worst for hoping, dreaming Guyanese.
For Exxon to admit that renewable energy sources are better is one huge concession, given what it stands for, what it has resisted, and on what the company’s visions for profitability are based on, and with which it has dragged Guyana’s willing leaders along. But now, with the ferocious winds of change (climate change) blowing, and with a bow to a gathering storm of foreign opposition, belated admission comes. In sum, it is that this gas-to-shore project is not the best option for Guyana, and that such has been shared with the Government of Guyana. The last sentence is worth repeating: Exxon’s Production Manager, Mr. Mike Ryan, shared publicly that the Guyana Government was advised by his company that this almost one billion (US) dollar gas-to-shore project should not be on the front burner, the high priority that it commands currently. And more importantly, IT IS THE GOVERNMENT OF GUYANA THAT IS PUSHING FOR THE GAS-TO-SHORE PROJECT, against the advice of its intimate oil partner (Exxon), and against the clear messages from writings on the wall (climate change and renewables).
Why is this so? Why is it that this sound advice from experts who are in the know, who have the sharpest oil visions, is ignored and dismissed so recklessly? Why this unseemly leadership rush, this costly, dangerous leadership road travelled so heedlessly?
The leaders of the Government of Guyana, there is only one that counts, have decided that it is this gas-to-shore project come hell or the highest floodwater, and it doesn’t matter what anybody says or recommends, be they Exxon, or Kaieteur News locally, or the world at large. What is in it for our leaders that they throw caution to the winds and wise advice behind them to push ahead with this expensive project, of which we know so little about, except that it is secret and riddled with the suspicious and sinister? It has to be something big, and with nearly a billion US dollars involved, there is the promise of one of the biggest oil paydays for corrupt leaders and their corrupt cliques.
Why do they still rush forward pell-mell in this headstrong manner when, as our second revealing headline confirmed what we have said time and again? That is, the systems for robust oversight, for modern policies and standards, and for ethical management are far from satisfactory. In fact, that our “systems to realise maximum value” for Guyana with this oil blessing leave so much to be desired. Because the systems are weak, and when systems are weak, they are exploitable by crooked politicians, crooked managers on the ground, and crooked workers. When systems are weak, then anybody that is half-smart, and not even that much, can and will find ways to devastate the rich promise that this oil wealth holds. The outlook is grim, the reality likely to be draining and destructive.
Guyana President, Vice President, and Minister of Natural Resources all know that our systems to get the best from our oil are weak, are porous, are antiquated and dilapidated, yet they, with the Vice President far in the forefront, could care less. It is like building the hugest of structures without so much as preparing the foundation, without getting the right expert guidance on how to do so with authoritative blueprints, and without searching for the right people to captain what follows, and be done only one way: the right way. When the Guyana Government pushes ahead unthinkingly and shockingly, against offered advice, then a looming tragedy waits to descend on the heads of all Guyanese citizens.
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