By GHK Lall
Kaieteur News – It is encouraging that a Guyanese Environmentalist, Ms. Simone Mangal-Joly, said her piece. It is Exxon’s reckless chasing after money. It is pleasing that there are genuinely concerned Guyanese like these, who know that when they take up stances that PPP powers conclude are contrarian, they are likely never to be forgotten or forgiven. It is encouraging that a few Guyanese are stepping forward, letting their voices echo with the troubling, the endangering, the impoverishing.
For my fellow citizens to get a clearer understanding of how capitalist corporate commanders think and function, I reach back in time to my time on Wall Street, the nerve centre of the Western world’s moneymaking machine. It should elaborate on what Ms. Mangal-Joly deemed reckless chasing after money. There was a decision to be made, which involved (what else?) money. The first question that was asked of the small conference room circle centred around the probability of detection and financial damage. It was 50 percent. The second question was what was likely to be the maximum cost in dollars and it came up to tens of millions (between 25 and 50) American dollars, in fines and possible censures. The last question was this: what was the approximate potential revenue stream? The answer was a minimum of US$100 million. When the numbers man spoke, I knew that it was all over.
Guyanese need to get this lesson in their heads: when money is involved, and it outruns the financial exposure, then money is king. It is what Ms. Mangal-Joly pointed to as the reckless chase after money. It is the rat race taken to towering heights by the biggest rats to be found anywhere. They are here in Guyana today, and they make bigger rats of our small and medium-sized rats. They are known as the political leaders, who we elect them every five years to gnaw at our hopes, dreams, and safety. In this reckless chase, Guyanese get knock down and run over. Thank you, Ms. Mangal-Joly.
I am encouraged that a stranger by way of UWI and Harvard Law could have a thought to share and a word to spare about our ‘little brown brothers’ (American President Howard Taft and VP George Bush). The Canadians come and PPP leaders go out of their way to welcome them: a mining agreement signed in a dark alleyway. If I remember well, the Americans did that with their Indigenous people for their land and minerals. They got compromised and collaborating tribal leaders to surrender for some beads and a bottle of whiskey. And before I forget, some rubber bullets. That was to shoot their own people. I wish that the President and the way smarter VP would listen, maybe grasp a tendril of some truth, of what destroys us.
The Canadians are ready to go to Marudi and the question is what the PPP Government (its VP) is going to do for ‘those people’. Yes, I said it: those little, inconsequential, troublesome Indigenous people. On the whole, it has been the lot of the original Guyanese to have to deal with mercury and cyanide, and God alone knows whatever else that we don’t know about. Yet.
The Human Rights lawyer is admitted to practice in Jamaica. I think she would do well in Guyana. That is, if she has the kind of stomach required to stand the deviltries and debaucheries of Guyanese political leaders from both sides of the divide. Still, a voice is a voice, and it doesn’t matter from whom and where or, sometimes, even about what. Once the essence is of what is right, fair and principled, then I am for it, and encouraged that there are people like these still around. Attorney Malene Alleyne has spoken about rescinding agreement and apologising to the Marudians. I think I can hear the VP: where do they get these people from? This is business, and it is a no brainer. Why can’t some people get it, get with the programme? To clear the air, it is his programme, and no little brown people will be allowed to get in the way. Rescind, no! Apologies, hell no!
(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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