Kaieteur News – This was a long time coming, and it was only a matter of time before someone took the bull by the horns and threw down the gauntlet. This was what occurred in Guyana’s High Court on Thursday, January 13, 2022. It is a day made memorable for what is being attempted, in that of taking matters to a different level in an altogether different forum. We invite all of Guyana and the rest of the world (especially the ABC & E people) to observe how this plays out in the public domain. That is, whether matters boil down to the Government of Guyana and Exxon versus the People of Guyana.
Many things could be said about this multi-layered High Court challenge/filing utilising provisions in the Income Tax Act, and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, among others. The first thing is that the Kaieteur News Publisher, Glenn Lall, is doing things by the book, and he is taking advantage of the provisions of what the Constitution of Guyana allows. He is fighting this valiant fight using the tools of the law and the courts to make his case and to register his great dissatisfaction and passionate distaste at what other Guyanese talk about, write about, posture about, but do less than they should in the face of obscene oil arrangements. Many agitated citizens desire to take the momentous step that Glenn Lall has taken, but lack one or some other resource that serves as a barrier to their visions of what is wrong with how this oil wealth is managed. They may lack money. They may lack energy. They may lack passion and commitment. But, most of all, they may lack the courage to take a stand for what they believe, the many things they believe, have gone wrong in the stewardship of this oil that we found below the sea. In view of this historic step that the Kaieteur News Publisher has taken, Guyanese must now show that they themselves do not lack for spirit, but raise their voices in a groundswell of support for what is in their best interests. It is time that somebody, some brave Guyanese, pull out the stops and take the fight to those who not only rob us and cheat us, but deceive us both before and after they plunder our wealth.
It is time that this highway robbery of extraordinary exemptions and rich concessions cease, that some respect be restored to us as a people, and that both local leaders and their foreign oil partners be made to pause and take notice, be nervous as to where this could lead. Citizens can come out in a show of solidarity, since this what is in place today has drastic consequences for the present and future generations of poor, hopeful Guyanese. Guyanese must stand up and speak out. They can write and shout about what we have with this damaging oil contract and how it hurts our prospects, and diminishes our dreams. The professionals, as in lawyers, can show where they stand and what they are about by rallying to this cause and lending their support. If ever there was a national cause this is one. If ever there was a righteous cause, it is this one involving our oil wealth, which has been snatched from us before we even realised the magnitude of our rich gifts.
The richness of the oil assets of the citizens of this impoverished country has been snatched by foreign predators working in cahoots with local political powers, meaning both the PPP/C Government of today (and before) and the previous Coalition Administration. The snatchings range from that horrendous two percent clause to the taxes concessions and exemptions we pay to the legal expenses and those other exploitative schemes that drain the wealth away from the treasury of the people, and line the pockets of local politicians and the foreign oil companies with whom they ally to rip the guts and heart, if not the soul, out of this country. The Glenn Lall High Court case makes the obscene tax arrangements the lynchpin of its pleadings. It is part of the grievous assaults and insults heaped on this nation, and which one government after another have approved and justified.
Publisher Glenn Lall and Citizen Lall has drawn his line in the sand, and will stand by it. This is the path he has chosen, and he must be recognised and commended for leading the way. He is doing what all of us should be doing, as he keeps ratcheting up the pressure on obstinate and callous political leaders, who hide, dodge and deceive. One man has had the courage to stand up. Guyanese: what about the rest of us? How about you, too?
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