Jan 11, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Trust politicians to talk a good game. We always knew this, but now confirmation came from an unlikely source (“Pres Ali, Jagdeo directed Stabroek partners to accelerate oil development -Hess Boss says” -KN January 10).
In fairness, both President and Vice-President were very clear at international forums where they stood in terms of development of resources. We will give them that, and it is not a matter of whether we agree with them or not. The word from both of them was always full speed ahead to capitalise on our wealth in the ground. It is our right and our due, and we should not be asked to carry the burdens of others that have existed long before oil was found in Guyana.
The problem starts when the public postures attach “environmentally-responsible manner” next to development of its resources. The first thing to be said about that, it is that it is a crock of whatever could fill it. Guyana’s President and Vice President cannot begin to speak of the environment, be it in terms of protection or friendly or any of those buzzwords or coached words that they have become so good at mouthing whenever they get an opportunity.
They should be embarrassed to speak of the environment relative to prudent development of this country’s natural resources, when the nation’s primary environmental watchdog has been reduced to a mouse. The record is there, and it is of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is more than muzzled. It is one that has been gutted and deboned and whatever else Guyanese leaders have seen fit to do with it.
The people at the EPA from top to bottom cannot do their job, and are coming up with these bizarre conclusions that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) are not necessary in most instances involving foreign businesses that come before it, and is left to stutter and dodge all over, while making a fool of its people and its mandate. When a nation’s EPA hears no evil, sees no evil, and knows no evil (where the environment is concerned, or protecting the citizens depending on it to take a stand for them), then that is what suffices for “environmentally friendly manner” now and under the careful management of a PPP/C Government that watches its every move. There will be no rocking of any boat, by anybody at the EPA.
This is why, there is another expression for what “environmentally friendly manner” embodies, according to the likes of Guyana’s leaders, when they smirk over these frauds called public consultations, and in which ExxonMobil itself was only too delighted to come to the party and dance its own jigs. The public consultations were so shallow as not even to qualify to be shams, but outright crimes against the people of this country. This is what developing and producing in an “environmentally friendly manner” means.
What could be more environmentally friendly than that is the question? And the next is for whom? Certainly not Guyana, which leaves Exxon, Hess, and CNOOC. Moreover, we are so driven to do oil business in this country with Exxon as a fairytale partner that we are comfortable as to the friendliness of its environmental practices for Guyana’s waters and coastline and people, that those same two leaders have not made it a big, bad priority (a drop dead one) to get oil spill insurance. If that is not friendly to Exxon and Hess, then nothing else is. Currently, the best Guyana’s powerful Vice President can share is the lameness of waiting hat in hand for an “acknowledgment” about insurance of some mysterious sort. We suppose they have worked that out in Houston during earlier visits.
Now, they bring this man of renown and the highest corporate regard, complete with Harvard Business School emblem and all. Professor Michael Porter is a brilliant man, but not for Guyana’s side of the formula. Porter’s entire professional life has been in the corner of high-powered corporations. He is the Angelo Dundee of corporate corner men. And this is the man they bring to “support” this country. It is the equivalent of bringing the devil to guide Guyana on how to get to heaven.
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