Oct 12, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – What is the purpose of today’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Guyana? Whose interests come first for this politically paralysed, comatose state entity? What comfort can Guyanese anywhere take from the work of the EPA? Who are these Guyanese at the EPA that bend over backwards so that locals can be worked over without interference and without reasonable protection? Where are those Guyanese, who bleat that they are for clean leadership, good governance and oil prosperity? Why are the loud public voices suddenly silent, disinterested and distant?
There are, however, some Guyanese, only a small handful presently that will not be silent. Not where their safety and welfare are concerned and certainly not when the future of their children could be endangered by the deeds of weaklings we have for political leaders who, in turn, set up human resource mechanisms at the EPA, so that their own weaknesses and betrayal can continue under numerous umbrellas.
Look at the local EPA today, and it is a shadow, a gash on conscience, an insult to intelligence. Guyana’s EPA should be sharply vigilant in looking out for Guyanese, but it is not. Guyana’s EPA is a doormat for Politicians to walk all over and push this way and that. This makes this vital agency look and smell like a carcass that every Guyanese holds their noses, and retch at the stench of an agency that should protect our interests, but instead colludes with. This is what leading political figures have compressed the EPA into; to run rackets with Exxon, while running citizens’ concerns into the ground, with one verbal sleight-of-hand after another.
Some bold citizens, however, will neither be misled nor cowed. They will not allow themselves to be victimised by corrupt and reckless Leaders or by bureaucrats jumping to the tune of outsiders, who train locals in their slick Public Relations stupidities that fool no one. This was the case of some residents in the East Coast area, now categorised as ‘Appellants’ because of their fierce resistance to the pending arrival of a what is called an ‘oil well cement’ facility (KN October 8). They have raised hands and voices in objection to such a facility being located in their community. They have many fears, with serious concerns about health at the top of the pile.
The East Coast Demerara residents, through their advocate, got a Hearing. But that is all that they may get from the EPA which cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ in the procedural game. But as any sensible and reasonable Guyanese, those not directly involved in the objection, could conclude by now, the local EPA labours in vain with its efforts at seeming to be there for Guyana first. So near to zero is the credibility and integrity of the EPA that it has no standing anymore. Its own shabby record condemns it to this fate, which does not bounce in its favour. Not with its history of casting aside Environmental Impact Assessments for almost everything that comes before it. Not with its feeble defense of the “approval process for the project is not completed.. Of course, that is the public cover to soothe, but intended to buy time and give room to maneuver in private and away from the public heat, and come up with some harebrained concoctions that favours foreign (and local) enterprises giving them an unobstructed path to whatever venture is in mind. The interests of Guyanese are not foremost on the Agenda of the EPA. Rather, it is dancing these public jigs, part of the now traditional masquerade, that ensure there is a document trail of consultation but always lead to the same places of resolution.
It is ‘yes’ to foreign companies, and ‘no’ to the legitimate objections of Guyanese. It has well-prepared phrases that reek of conmen’s slickness and lacking dependability. Strangely, there are few Guyanese in civil society or the media saying to the EPA: “this will not work, do these Duties right, and safeguard Guyanese.” This is what is nationalistic and which oversees this oil treasure, not the darting about of the President and Vice President. It is about patriotic stewardship and getting the best for us in the safest possible way. More Guyanese must speak up. No political loyalty should be greater than such concerns, such national oil visions.
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