Nov 25, 2021 Letters
Kaieteur News – The advertisements, and snippets of information during last week stirred due to one of the relationships noted. It was of a new insurance presence in Guyana, now given fuller news coverage under an article titled, “Guyanese who was awarded Kaieteur Block jumps into insurance industry with TT partner” (KN November 21). Indeed, as I took the time to read through the story, it is more like plunging headlong into the local insurance business.
I don’t know how much I am ready to welcome this group presently, but I congratulate it for its range of interests, and the reach of its visions. It certainly comes with some pedigree names (Marsh, AoN, et al) of longstanding repute. But I will be less than myself if I didn’t confess to early alarm over the direction in which this may be heading, and to where I believe this new group could be positioning itself, for it to be sold to us later as the real McCoy.
I looked at some of the areas in which it boasts of readiness to serve, namely, “risk management” which is an all-purpose cover for anywhere and anything; I encourage Guyanese to start thinking of oil platforms and the rest to get my drift. As if to confirm this thrust (preparation and lining up), it also touts itself as being able to “design programmes that cater for protection in the oil and gas sector.” I think that that is utterly lovely, and I am grateful for the full and early disclosure, unlike so many other murky matters here.
Now, with due respect to the group, I move to register publicly a dollop of misgiving. I apologise for being that little fellow hollering that something looks a shade on the soggy side. As I see this warming insurance development, I ask myself if this is not an early foray by one of Guyana’s most erudite, and also extremely clever, political leaders to setup a mechanism to provide the much clamoured for insurance coverage in the event of a catastrophic oil spill. That is how I see it, and laud it for being an utterly charming exercise in strategic thinking embodying a certain kind of self-serving vision. Look we are all in this to make as much money as possible from the oil curse (sorry, oil blessing), and a protective insurance umbrella is as good a vehicle as any. And this is regardless of whose interests are served.
I remind again, as I extend a hospitable hand to this new insurance group, especially with a Guyanese being very much in the mix, my only hang-up is that someone who was awarded a fabulous oil block in a secret arrangement, (sometimes termed underhanded in the real world) could now spring up in this insurance reincarnation. Talk about some big bites of the Guyana apple. We can’t complain now: we asked for oil spill insurance, and it looks like we just got it. The issues are, can it deliver? Can it muster the many billions in underwriting muscle demanded? Does it have the necessary credibility for something of this magnitude, which is where I think the end game leads?
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