Aug 07, 2022 News
– Glenn Lall flays Opposition for missed opportunity; indifference to renegotiation
Kaieteur News – The deepening cost of living crisis here can be cured with more revenues coming in from Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas industry. But this can only be had, if the combined opposition and government demand adjustments in the lopsided oil contract this country signed with ExxonMobil, Kaieteur News Publisher, Mr. Glenn Lall has said.
Lall was at the time speaking on his radio programme ‘The Glenn Lall Show’ aired on Kaieteur Radio (99.1, 99.5FM) last Wednesday. Globally, citizens have been reeling from the high cost of living caused by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. In Guyana citizens have been hit by shortages in several food items as well as hike in prices. The government’s response thus far has been lacklustre and the opposition has been agitating for a comprehensive programme to tackle the problem.
Last Tuesday the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the Alliance for Change (AFC) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) held a rally to speak out against the high cost of living, corruption and extra judicial killings. At the rally, they vowed to ramp up their activisms. Speaking on the issue with specific focus on the reluctance of the country’s leaders to press for renegotiation in the contract, Lall told his audience that he has been encouraged “to see the opposition, all three groups, coming out holding rallies to protest against those things, but the most important issue affecting all of Guyana, the present and future generation, was not on the agenda and not even mentioned.”
Lall asked, “What drove them to this rally? Food – your belly, the cost of living today, all have to do with money, your pocket. This is the core issue in the world today and all of the issues facing Guyanese today could be solved overnight if we focus on the issue that was not on the rally’s agenda – the oil money, the gold money, diamond and bauxite money. Holding rallies and talking about how things bad in your country is not going to correct anything,” Lall said on his programme.
He said the opposition should take some of the blame for the economic woes in Guyana –owing to the contract it signed with Exxon. “Things are bad because you people, and I mean you the opposition, have created the situation we are living in today – the hole we find ourselves in, you the Coalition have put us in it, by giving away everything to ExxonMobil with that lopsided Stabroek Block contract, signed by former Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman.”
Directing his attention to the Leader of the Opposition, Lall said, “If that is corrected Mr. (Aubrey) Norton, you will have no need to hold rallies, you will have no extra-judicial killing and less corruption because everybody will be living large, they don’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from. They don’t have to worry about salary increase; every household would have been collecting a fat, fat something when the month come, if we fix that contract.”
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic was divinely orchestrated to “wake up the world,” Lall said, the virus and its rapid spread was aimed at sending a message to the world. “COVID is what started the crisis we living in today, Mr. Norton. Workers across the world could not go out of their homes to work and earn a living. All of the world’s ports and harbours were brought to their knees because there was not enough produce to make a boat load – that has caused the prices to soar. A container that used to cost US$3,000 is now beyond US$20,000. To date, COVID hasn’t left the world and it’s still scary, now there is Monkey Pox, which is beginning to get scary too. People don’t want to risk going to work, travelling in trains and buses, sitting next to strangers for fear of contracting Monkey Pox. Then there is the war between Russia and Ukraine, one supplying about 40 percent fuel – oil and gas to the world and the other supplying over 40 percent wheat and corn – food for the world. And because of the war, food and fuel prices have gone crazy all over the world…”
Lall mentioned too that India, which supplies 40 percent of rice to the world, is also suffering from intense drought. “You know where we are heading there, you guys better get back into the rice fields quickly and start ploughing because soon you will be lining up to buy rice, like how you lining up for sugar,” said Lall. He added too that “The whole of Europe and even parts of America have been going through a massive heat wave for over a month now, which has created wildfires that destroyed billions in wealth. It even killed over 2,000 people in Italy and Spain, some three weeks ago.”
“So there you have it, COVID, Monkey Pox, war, heat wave, drought, flooding, all leading to crisis after crisis, Mr. Norton. And the only way to get out of the crisis facing this world is to get the most out of what God blessed you with, and that is our resources. I can’t make it simpler than that for all of you, including the government, the opposition and every single Guyanese. Start fighting for your rightful share, then you will have no cause to keep rallies and to keep quarrelling with each other over inflation,” Lall urged.
Moreover, the Opposition rally, according to Lall, should not have been against the government, but rather against ExxonMobil, Hess and the Chinese company CNOOC, “and all the other foreign wealth stealers currently exploiting our resources in the back dam, our gold, our diamonds, our bauxite, timber, manganese and others. That is what you need a rally for…” Lall stated emphatically. He said that citizens want to hear about money, “and the two cents the country collecting from the oil deal the Coalition signed with ExxonMobil…[this] is not going to lift this nation out of poverty. The oil industry at present is sinking Guyana, rather than lifting Guyana from where it is. The oil companies are just enriching themselves while exploiting Guyana, burying us in billions of US dollars in debts.”
He said from the first day Guyana found oil, media houses, especially Kaieteur News, have been relentless in reporting on the sector. “For the last seven years, I don’t think we have had a daily newspapers without carrying an oil story, all with the aim of educating the politicians and the nation at large as to what has happened and what can happen to new found oil producing countries – that was our aim and still continues to be our aim in the newsroom at KN daily.”
According to the newspaper publisher, protests have been going on for over two months now, every day of which he is proud to be part of in the fight for a better deal from “our resources, not only for myself but for all Guyana. Even if you live overseas, you are entitled to your rightful share. More money in the system is more pensions in your pocket, whether you live in America, London or Canada. We began these protests at the Square of the Revolution, and then we moved it to the Shore Base at Houston on the East Bank of Demerara every day, like I said, with one thing in mind, change the oil, gold, and diamond and bauxite contracts. Change, renegotiate all of them is a must.”
Lall said corrupt politicians have allowed ExxonMobil to rape and rob Guyana, noting that those are some of the messages displayed on placards during the protests. “But did the PNC, the AFC or the WPA join in…? Not one of them, but they telling you to come out and protest the high cost of living and corruption…”
Mr. Lall remains adamant that getting a better deal from the oil contract is the answer to the cries at the opposition rallies. However, he said Norton and his members are refusing to address the elephant in the room, “saying we want more, but he’s not going to do the one thing that will get so much more.” “Renegotiating and changing that lopsided, one sided contract is the solution to all the issues and a good life in this country, Mr. Norton and (Khemraj) Ramjattan. That should be the mantra on the lips of every AFC, PNC, WPA and the PPP member – that should have been the national theme song for this country, but when that word renegotiation is mentioned is like you offend some of the politicians in this country…” Lall asserted.
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