Jan 09, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – There is a saying from long ago that has the same resonance today. It is: beware of Greeks and the gifts they bear. Guyana is today poised to be on the receiving end of some great giver of gifts, which like the Trojans of yore, there will be endless pain and regret (“Exxon, Hess helping Guyana manage oil resources” – KN January 7). The Guyana Government and their foreign oil partners may think that they are pulling the wool over the eyes of dumb Guyanese, but no matter how the language is well-couched, what is being readied here is as clear as day. It is sinister and does not bode well for this society.
The revelation from CEO John Hess of Hess Corp is that his company and Exxon “are supporting independent work being done by an international group to help Guyana devise a developmental plan for the management of its oil wealth.” We have a few questions and a few suggestions for Mr. Hess and Exxon’s CEO Darren Wood.
First, why this generous offer of “supporting independent work” from Hess and Exxon? Second, why should this sugar-coated offer intended “to help Guyana devise a developmental plan” be acceptable to Guyanese, given where we are with both Hess and Exxon, and how we have been ripped off by the two? Last question, why should Hess and Exxon be anywhere near this country’s business of the “management of its oil wealth?”
Fellow Guyanese, we say this is all tricks and traps, no matter how well polished, how innocent and how well-sounding. In sharper wording, this is a loaded gun, and it is pointed at the head of Guyanese by the two companies which, with the enthusiastic collaboration of local leaders and local elites, have torn out our guts. We don’t need Hess and Exxon to support us, or to be involved in this part of our oil business. We don’t trust them, and we don’t have to like them, especially given their ruthless exploitations and the impoverishing results of their handiwork here. It is better that we have nothing more to do with these two companies, beside the contractual. Now for the suggestions mentioned earlier.
Exxon and Hess should prioritise being fair with this country’s citizens. Exxon and Hess should find ways to address local content, taxes, and that god-awful contract. Exxon should support Guyana with comprehensive oil spill insurance. In short, Exxon and Hess should work at lowering our share of those burdensome multibillion dollar (U.S.) expenses, and increasing our income. Leave the rest to us, we will take it from there.
Regarding the agencies being engaged, we are impressed by Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs. We are also impressed by Professor Michael Porter and his expertise in “economics, business strategy, and social causes.” It is of how Guyana can “enhance its human capital through healthcare and education and its infrastructure.” If these entities came through arrangements other than Exxon and Hess, we would have no problem.
But because the two companies are the source, we must get our own independent experts to guide Guyana on how to perfect a developmental plan and manage our oil wealth. We will get people we trust, entities and individuals with reputations for independence and reliability. For there is another side to this ‘generous gift horse’ concocted by Exxon and Hess and the PPP/C Government. It is a dark and sinister one that tightens the noose around the necks of the population, while completing the conquest of this backward nation, and establish an unbreakable Exxon monopoly in every aspect of this nation’s oil business.
Exxon already controls prospecting, exploring, discovering, producing, and transporting. Stick to those. Because this fancy talk is cover for what the Government needs to keep any viable Opposition in check, identify pockets of resistance, intimidate protesting people into silence, manage objectionable media, fine tune the public relations message and skills of local collaborating politicians and their cronies, and help the Government further cheat poor, hopeful Guyanese.
We recognise a well-dressed up, high-class con. We know about forked tongues from history of other peoples misled and nations devastated. Guyana shouldn’t be having part of this, not with Exxon and Hess involved.
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