Jan 20, 2022 News
– Protesters demand change, call on leaders to fight for a better deal
Kaieteur News – A protester who took to the streets yesterday demanding changes in the oil contracts, which Guyana signed with some of the foreign oil companies was moved to tears as he called on the government and leaders of Guyana to secure more wealth for households so that their children can be properly fed.Rawle Austin, who hails from Section ‘C’ Sophia, Georgetown shared that he makes concrete blocks for a living and was robbed recently; hence, he is unable to provide for his family. The man said, “There is so much of poverty in Sophia right now and because of that people are coming out and violate people. I am a blocks maker and my own neighbour child thief my blocks mould, all two, and he put me out of business. You know why they thieving because the children cannot eat. The family cannot provide for them and if I de take de law into my own hands, I wouldn’t have been here protesting, but is children and I leave it to God but we need to do something about this thing”.
Austin said he believes an administration that cares for its people would renegotiate the contract the Guyana Government signed with ExxonMobil. He also urged that Guyanese support the protest action. “This is not politics or religion or race, this is about fighting for what is for Guyanese. I have been listening to Mr. Glenn Lall for about a year now on his radio station.
I didn’t know about a lot of them things but I hear his voice crying out and I know that he didn’t have to do what he’s doing but he’s doing it cause he is a Guyanese and we all are Guyanese,” Austin posited as he called on citizens to participate in the ‘fight’.Kaieteur News spoke with another protester, Simosha Lawrence from Georgetown who said she was out to protest to get more for her children. According to her, “I am a single mother and I would like to see a better environment for them (my children) at school and hospitals and so on. I am here to support Glenn Lall because I believe we should get a better contract. It got nuff single parents and some children aint’t going to school and all of that because the parents cannot afford it”.
Lall Persaud another protester said, “We think, we need our fair share because two percent cannot cut the ice and everybody, a lot of people are complaining”. Persaud, a Guyanese who resides in the United States said he is not against the production of oil, but rather the unfair deal that Guyanese are being forced to accept.“I don’t think that the government is doing a good job. We need some changes and we deserve 50/50.
We need to stand up for what is ours,” Persaud added.
Meanwhile, Malika Clementson, another resident from Georgetown said it is quite clear that the oil companies are taking advantage of Guyanese. She said, “They are robbing not only us, but our children and our children’s children in the future generations cause I think we need to inherit more than what we are getting here, not only for us, but for everybody’s children”.“A fair share”
KN Publisher, Glenn Lall was among the protesters yesterday shouting “demand your fair share” and “stand up for your children” on the Houston, East Bank Demerara Public Road. In an interview he said, “I came out here to fight for my own share. The reason for that is because the leaders will not stand up and they will not fight for our share.They have sold this country out and I, as a Guyanese, will never sit back idle knowing what has happened in many oil-producing countries all across this World”.
Lall made specific reference to the extreme poverty the people are faced with in oil-producing nations such as Angola, which he said, he is determined not to let occur in Guyana. Other than protesting, Lall has already filed a historic lawsuit against oil giant ExxonMobil and its partners, Hess Corporation and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited in light of the most repressive tax provisions of the Stabroek Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA).
The case, which was prepared and filed by his Attorney-at-Law, Mohamed R. Ali, outlines that many of the provisions listed under Article 15.1 of the Petroleum Agreement, dated June 27, 2016, between the Guyana Government and the oil companies, grants exemptions to persons other than licensees, which violate the Petroleum Exploration and Production Act, the Financial Administration (and Audit) Act, the Prevention of Discrimination Act, and the Constitution.
The newspaper Publisher is confident that Guyana would be able to retain billions of American dollars, should his case be won. In the meantime, he told this newspaper that he is prepared to protest everyday in different parts of the country, so as to bring about greater awareness about what is at stake.
According to him, “Every Guyanese home should have been getting one million dollars per month right now but the million dollars a month for our households and our housewives are going to every foreigner in this land…we are rated the second fastest growing economy in the World, yet our salary increase is seven percent”.
As a consequence, Glenn said he is prepared to protest until the contract changes. “It has to change. This contract has to change. It must change. It will change and if nobody else is gonna do it, we are gonna do it,” he insisted.
Guyana’s oil deal
Kaieteur News would have exposed that Guyana’s Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) for the Stabroek Block is one of the world’s worst provisions when compared to 130 other deals in the world. For example, the PSA sees the government paying the contractor’s income tax out of the country’s share of the profits. However, none of the 130 PSAs examined shows this arrangement.
Further, Guyana’s PSA is the only one out of 130, which has very moderate work obligations for contractors who are vested with offshore licences. Additionally, the Guyana-ExxonMobil PSA is the only one out of 130 contracts, which has no ring-fencing provisions to prevent costs of unsuccessful wells being carried over to that of successful wells.
There is also no sliding scale for royalty to increase as production improves. And that is not all. Guyana’s PSA is the only one out of 130 in the world that allows insurance premiums to be fully recovered as well as interest on loans and financing costs that are incurred by the contractors. The newspaper publisher has been adamant that the two percent royalty deal for which oil giant ExxonMobil has inked with local politicians is not carved in stone and as such can be changed in favour of the citizens of Guyana.
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