Dec 07, 2021 News
…as PNC/R leadership candidates are called on to publicly pronounce on renegotiation – Dr. Jailall
“Harmon’s and the PNC/R’s ongoing support for re-negotiation can put the PPP/C in a pickle and change the tide for re-negotiation; will the PNC/R step up? What is there to lose?”
Kaieteur News – With government coming out with a definitive pronouncement that it will not be renegotiating its contract with Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL)—ExxonMobil Guyana—it is now time for each of the contenders vying to lead the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) to make a public pronouncement of their positions on the matter.
This more so, with Opposition Leader and contender for the leadership position in the PNC/R leadership race, Joseph Harmon, who in a recent Sunday Kaieteur News publication, was pictured wearing a t-shirt saying, “Demand 50% royalty.”
Additionally, Harmon must also now come clean with the nation, and divulge who instructed the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, to sign the contract with ExxonMobil Guyana.
The sentiments were recently expressed by Canada-based Guyanese, Dr. Jerry Jailall, who suggested that the position postulated by Harmon, “seems to be clear support for the renegotiation of the oil and gas contract as any increase in the two percent paltry royalty, which we get now, would require renegotiation.”
According to Dr. Jailall, “Harmon’s call for a 50 percent royalty now sets an interesting stage.”
This since, the Exxon Chief had said both the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) and PNC/R promised during the election, that the contracts will not be renegotiated.
As such, Dr. Jailall was adamant, Harmon must now explain clearly, “If he and his PNC are now supporters of a better, fair deal for Guyana.”
To this end, he also quipped, “…we also need to hear from Mr. Harmon’s challengers where they stand on renegotiation and whether they also would wear the T-shirt.”
According to Dr. Jailall, “if Harmon stands solid, this changes the political dynamics in Guyana and spells trouble for the PPP/C’s engine room, which milked the Global Witness report to say the PNC/R sold out the country; that we stand to lose US$55 billion and the PPP/C will renegotiate the contract if they win.”
To this end, Dr. Jailall used the occasion to also remind, that the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) David Patterson, is getting ready to challenge the gas-to-shore project seeking full disclosure of information.
Conversely, he noted that right now, the PNC/R is in disarray, “having failed in its attempt to rig the 2020 election Burnham style; it has no message or platform beyond racial incitement, gives tepid support for vaccination that amounts to non-support, refuses to recognise a duly elected PPP/C Government, while the PPP/C basks in its multitudinous development projects all across the country.”
To this end, Dr. Jailall, questioned, if Minister Raphael Trotman, who signed “the bad Exxon deal that sold out the national patrimony said he was told to sign the contract, who told him to sign? The PNC side, Dr. Jailall noted, has not said anything but the only “two people who were above Mr. Trotman and could have hypothetically told Mr. Trotman to sign, would have been the President and Mr. Harmon; Mr. Harmon was the number two man in the Granger Government so we need Mr. Harmon to clear the air on this.”
According to Dr. Jailall, notwithstanding the credibility of the messenger, Harmon’s new gamble calling for higher oil royalties might yet prove to be the message and platform the PNC/R needs to be relevant once again.
The PNC/R, he said, is poised to remain in the Opposition benches for a long time, but “can still rescue itself by throwing somebody under the bus, apologise to the nation for giving away Guyana’s oil and gas, and commit to an ongoing fight for renegotiation.”
According to Dr. Jailall, this will force the Government to move towards the re-negotiation track, “and this will be good for all Guyana.”
Dr. Jailall has since posited, if both mass based parties, “keeps on holding the same position against renegotiation, it will be a slow build for the national cause seeking better benefits from oil for the Guyanese people with a long list of needs.”
He was adamant, if the PPP/C refuses to renegotiate and the PNC have the opposing position, “there is a potential of an additional 45 percent Guyanese supporting renegotiation, and Exxon will not be able to resist such a mighty force.”
He suggested that Harmon should know that the PNC/R’s silence on renegotiation does not mean “Exxon or the USA would support them in future elections, since “they have shot themselves in the foot for the long-term by their anti-democratic behaviour.”
Inherently, he said, Harmon’s and the PNC/R’s ongoing support for re-negotiation can put the PPP in a pickle and change the tide for renegotiation. “Will the PNC step up? What is there to lose?”
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