Nov 02, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Other sections of the independent mainstream media have been wary of rocking the oil boat, diffident inspeaking out against blatant wrongs by both foreign oil companies and local political leaders. For reasons known only to them, they have treaded carefully around oil controversies and what we detect to be clear and continuing cases of enormous corruptions in Guyana’s budding oil sector. Perhaps, they are more sensible than us, but because so much is at stake for the future of Guyana, we take the bit into our teeth and plow ahead undaunted.
In our October 24 edition, we headlined an oil-related story. It was that an ExxonMobil report indicates that the much talked about 4th oil project will increase this country’s overall carbon emissions. It stands to reason that that is going to happen, aforegone conclusion. On this one, Exxon documented the truth, which is not something that it is known for, since oil companies, in general, have a well-earned reputation for peddling lies (refer to letter from attorney at law, Ms. Melinda Janki in KN, October 24), which is something that is supported by the records of those companies.
Guyana already has troubles with emissions control, thanks to Exxon and its flaring into the atmosphere. No right-thinking Guyanese would recommend leaving the oil in the ground, not when the world is looking to distance swiftly from fossil fuels. But our oil exploration and production must be with protective constraints in place, and on which our leaders must insist. If there has to be a cap on exploration, and limits on production, then that is what it must be. This is where we are at this paper, and we make no bones about it.
For its part, Exxon rushes to use its cheap oil contract and docile political leadership partnerships (both APNU+AFC and PPP/C) to butter up its profitability, and regain the good graces of its shareholders. But even Exxon is sounding alarms. A recent instance was what to do with excess gas, with not enough demand for it, which was followed by the revelation of increase in overall carbon emissions from the 4th oil project. Exxon is looking out for its own interests, but the top leaders of the company are still sober enough and savvy enough to put a few facts on the table, every now and then. In this way, those same leaders get to point to their reports and say that they did the right thing and rang the bell of warning.
We have to wonder, and all Guyanese should, why the same sobriety and good sense are missing from today’s PPP leaders. It was good ammunition and made for good press to take aim and blow away the Coalition for its many immense missteps, which led to Guyana’s unbelievable oil contract. To live off of that today is pointless, beyond landing a few blows, which have lost their sting. The PPP is in control today, and its leaders, meaning the Vice President alone, have the power to say to Exxon: this is how things are going to be. This is what will be done, and nothing else.
The last place that Guyana would want to find itself, is that it proceeds with projects that go against the grain of the thinking and hardening postures of the international community, and transform itself into a State with an unwanted kind of reputation. That is, while the world is going in an increasingly negative and restrictive direction with fossil fuels, we are going in the opposite direction with new projects and possibly new contributions to what the world is fighting against. We don’t believe that we have to say anything about climate change and the intensifying fears issuing from powerful voices with global reach.
For, if and when we rush forward unheedingly, meaning the Vice President does that, he risks impairing the current friendly relations that his government and this country has with the wider world. He should recall how Guyana attracted much scorn before for providing safe harbour for troubled people. Guyanese and the Vice President do well to remember that lesson. It is why we caution: don’t repeat the same mistakes with fossil fuel positions.
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