By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – I have mixed feelings about that needed Old Age Pension ‘one-off’ $25,000, as announced by President Ali. It will do some good for 60,000 plus pensioners, who are on fixed incomes, and struggle to cope. When looked at positively, it encourages, and I say, timely and well received, Mr. President! However, my thinking side wonders whether this is not another distraction that the President and Vice President have employed to take the minds of Guyanese off bigger issues. There was the discrimination issue raised in Brooklyn, which I have done publicly here, relative to Black public servants victimised. There are unanswered questions about oil in general, and the accelerated gas-to-shore project, specifically, and which a few billion is a cheap price to engage the attention of citizens, while monstrous skullduggeries occur under the table. To use those now famous Guyanese words, it is a ‘no brainer’ to pay out a $4-5 billion when the continuing rip-off of $25 billion and counting happens behind the scenes with friends and family. The President and Vice President have learned from the Roman emperors, who used to cover-up grave circumstances with circuses. And bread, which equivalent is cash payout. Remember I said this in August: another one is waiting for the right crisis.
I have similar unsettled feelings with this man from nowhere, Robert Bea. He is an extraordinary fellow, just from his record. And what he had to say should bring the shakes to all sensible Guyanese. I don’t count partisans, the bigoted, and lost among sensible Guyanese, who would be quick to condemn and dismiss him. The bottom line is that Robert Bea is in a class by himself, and what he represented about Exxon and its activities in Guyana (Liza-1, EPA, and Guyana Government) is enough to drive every Guyanese crazy, with total hair loss, shattered nerves and hopes, and much handwringing and wailing.
I have said before: this oil is already a curse, with accursed political leaders making themselves dirtier by the moment, citizens in dazed dreams, and Exxon galloping dangerously ahead. For Robert Bea found everything wrong with what Exxon is doing 125 miles out there. What Exxon is doing can kill us with the deadweight of the severest economic blight, the spectre of paradise lost, the reality of glittering oil promise shattered, and the possibility of generations left holding Exxon’s dirty and sharp end of the stick.
In a nutshell, Bea noted that Exxon’s plans for a potential spill were shallow, limp, and fell way short of anything that should comfort Guyana and neighbours. High-risk and extremely disturbing! Exxon’s preparations look just like what BP did at Macondo (Gulf of Mexico) which blew out and created a major disaster. Exxon’s containment time is generous (to itself) and unrealistic. Exxon’s remedial measures (chemicals) are hazardous. Exxon is producing on the quick and cheap. And though Bea didn’t say it, I do: Exxon has Guyana’s EPA and the leaders of the PPP government eating out of its hands, doing cartwheels and headstands, and jumping all over, like human kangaroos, to please Exxon at every turn and step. Look and listen to Guyana’s senior leaders, and there is the proof, one long evidentiary trail that began a year ago, if not before. Of conspiracies and collusions that hold the worst for all Guyanese, except the cabal of the inner circle and specially favoured. Exxon may succeed, against the odds, in holding the oil. But this PPP government will not fare the same way, with the seething resentments that build daily, and which no cash doles are going to make a lasting difference.
Last, I learned that the Guyana dollar has ‘appreciated’ moving from G$215: US$1 to a whopping G$200: US$1 in the street. Without going into the heavy supply of American currency, including likely disguised dirty drug dollars (where is the vaunted American Ambassador now?), that 200 to 1 usually means that the Guyana dollar should buy more, as in G$200 buying what G$215 used to deliver. I am yet to see that, and it disturbs. COVID-19 and floods, comrades! Private sector, too.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – On October 12, more than a dozen representatives in the US Congress sent a letter... more
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