Jan 18, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – A neighbour who is one that can be definitely considered a wise and patriotic oilman made a recommendation to leaders in the Guyana Government. He called on them to conduct round-the-clock surveillance with what is going on out there in the oil fields with our national treasure, some 120 miles from our shores (“Former Suriname oil boss urges Guyana to have 24hr surveillance offshore” -KN January 13). Without a doubt, that makes for much sense, and can only deliver what is beneficial to this country’s interests.
Mr. Rudolf Elias knows what he is talking about, and regardless of what leaders in the Guyana Government think or how they view him, he knows more than them, perhaps all of them put together. This includes Guyana’s supposed leading oil authority, the Vice President, and it is the product of 30 years of deep experience in what is a tricky oil industry. As the former head of Staatsolie, the Suriname National Oil Company, Mr. Elias is someone who could speak with conviction and authority, since it was what was earned in the decades, which he spent in the business. It is why we say, indeed insist, that Guyana’s leaders would do well to listen to this man and what he is saying.
He is saying that this country should have 24-hour surveillance over those oil fields out in the seas. We agree 100 percent. We don’t know what is going on, have not a clue, and have to depend on whatever Exxon decides to tell us. We don’t know if what is shared with us is factual, accurate, or the whole truth. In view of how Exxon has played games with us, and has tried repeatedly to make fools of us, 24-hour surveillance is not only sound, but what serves to protect our interests. As we have said before, made clear via different channels, we don’t trust the people at Exxon, and we have no respect for their business ethics and practices. As one example, we point to those billions in bills in American dollars, which were dumped on us, and which are a far cry from what standard practices are globally. Further, there were findings of where Exxon tried to cheat us before, so it is a fair conclusion that the company will cheat us at any and every opportunity that presents itself.
Because of this alone, and there are other areas that we are not touching today, it is in our interests to have 24-hour surveillance offshore. The former Suriname oil boss pointed to two reasons that make such uninterrupted surveillance necessary, we would say mandatory. The first is that we must be able to follow every move that is made out there by the oil companies, every step and everything they do ought to be scrutinized with a microscope and then run through with a fine-tooth comb. The oil companies have not given us an inch, or a penny, so there is no reason, why we should not return the favour twice over if we can. We must watch them, and they must know that we are watching them nonstop.
The second reason advanced by Mr. Elias for such surveillance is that there is the accumulation of much-needed knowledge, which adds to our library of understanding and know-how, as we seek to increase the little that is in our reservoir. These are priceless things that have inestimable value in the long-run, and that which should not be outsourced, or left in the hands of outsiders. Our people must be the ones on the ground (vessels) gaining the insights that, in time, will make the oil companies sit up and be nervous around us, because we know too much. We want them (oil companies) in that position where whatever they were pulling before, they are now forced to curtail, due to likely fallouts from being caught in the act. Surveillance makes that possible.
There is one more benefit that Mr. Elias didn’t mention. We get to monitor our own people, and keep them honest, so that they don’t sell to Exxon. What Mr. Elias urges calls for is strong leadership in the PPP/C Government. As to whether they will act accordingly, that’s to be seen.
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