Jan 26, 2022 Letters
Kaieteur News – As National Hero Mr. Glenn Lall and Kaieteur News and the other independent paper, the Stabroek News, feature stories on the bad deals we have with our oil and gas contracts, more and more people are understanding that both the PNC and PPP have sold out our oil, leaving us with “larwah” compared to what Exxon and friends get from us. The National Movement for Renegotiation is gaining strength and momentum, and it’s just a matter of time that both the PPP and PNC will have no choice but to join the bandwagon of this emerging People’s Movement. This was bound to happen. As they say, “You can fool some of the people all of the time (such as those PNC and PPP diehards who think you are against their party if you criticise their sellout of oil), but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” For me the oil “contract” is more of a “Deed of Gift” of Oil and Gas. It’s not a real contract where Guyana has the bulk of the benefits. It’s an oil and gas giveaway by both major parties that have bedeviled our nation for 60 years.
The recent Glenn Lall protests for renegotiation, complete with harassment by the Police taking protest vehicles and sound system into the station, is bringing more and more people to the realisation that they will continue to be poor and destitute in a land of plenty, unless the contract is renegotiated to give Guyana more income from its resources. Our list of needs is long, but the money we get from oil is inadequate to meet the needs. This means for the rest of our lives, we would all need weekly hampers to survive. The business people and friends of the Government would be dancing all the way to the bank just as the oil companies do. It is the wage earners, the minimum wage people, small garden farmers, fishermen, security guards, and the army of self-employed who would continue to suffer until they die.
The recent environmental lawsuits filed by courageous Lawyers – Ms. Melinda Janki and Mr. Ronald Burch Smith (an emerging hero standing up for Guyana) – will help the cause of renegotiation. This lawsuit will reveal that our Government is in collusion with the oil profiteers against the people of Guyana who want strong enforcement of environmental protections and more benefits from oil and gas production.
We salute the courage of Sherlina Nageer, Andriska Thorington (a UG student), and Sinikka Henry(a UG Lecturer) in filing the recent lawsuit against the Guyana Environmental Protection Agency to put a stop to flaring of gas offshore by ExxonMobil. These citizens are doing what the Government and Opposition should have been doing to protect our country. With the failure of both the PPP and PNC to fight for the people, Civil Society members have stepped up to save a whole nation. Those who are making swipes at civil society members signing protest letters and speaking out about the bad oil and gas deals should hang their heads in shame. History will remember these snipers as being on the wrong side. The real heroes are people such as Troy Thomas who is plaintiff in the environmental lawsuit filed recently, and our three Guyanese women Andriska Thorington, Sherlina Nageer, Sinikka Henry – emerging heroes – who stand for the people, not crooked politicians. It is so refreshing to see UG people waking up and speaking out. I hope this is the beginning of a new activism at UG which has been docile for such a long time. The UG student Ms. Thorington said, “As a young person I cannot stand by and watch my future burn up. Young people everywhere are acting to stop oil and gas from destroying the planet. I call on young people in Guyana to question this oil and gas and all the propaganda about jobs and money and benefits. The youth should be mindful of the fact that the purported money and benefits will cease to matter if our environment is destroyed.”
Nation, now is the time to step up and support the National Movement for Renegotiation of all natural resource contracts. Please support upcoming activities. I hope this movement will greet the Exxon head coming to Guyana for the Energy Conference in February.
Dr. Jerry Jailall
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