Aug 08, 2022 Letters
Now that the Head of a major International Institution has drawn attention to the world of the massive sums being earned by oil companies operating in every continent in the midst of rising cost of living and millions around the globe living in poor conditions, we in Guyana must take note.
In his address this week, Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres recommended that countries where these oil giants operate should apply a special tax which should be used to ease the burden of the millions of men and women who do not enjoy the full benefits of this God-given resource.
In this regard, Guyanese should listen and thank the likes of Kaieteur News publisher, Glenn Lall, articles and editorials in the independent media such as Stabroek News, the advocacy of Dr. Vincent Adams, Facebook Advocates, Janet Bulkan, GHK Lall and others for their consistent crusade to inform the Guyanese public so that as a people, we can agitate for a better deal for this country so that this and succeeding generations can benefit from the bounty and kindness of the divine creator.
Guyana is a country with no natural disasters, no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no excessive heat to cause combustion and forest fires, no flooding. Guyana is so blessed that we enjoy beautiful weather every day of the year and each and every day; we should thank the Creator whether we are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, Baha’is, Rastafarians for this generosity in a country with fewer than a million people.
In discussing our good fortune, one old timer observed that the Creator has given to us these many benefits but left us with the burden of some politicians who seem unable or unwilling to take advantage of this generous goodness we inherited.
Our history points to the fact that for centuries, Massa has controlled our material resources by a clever and well-practised technique of controlling the mind of the local people using the well-known technique of divide and rule.
Assuming that our current leaders need and understand history, a few months ago, I wrote identical letters to President Ali, GS of the PPP, Bharrat Jagdeo, Leader of the AFC, Khemraj Ramjattan, copied to the Special Advisor of the President, Gerry Gouveia and Leader of the PNC, now Leader of the Opposition, Aubrey Norton.
My letter asked that we should all set aside our differences and, like knights of the round table, sit around the table, hammer out a common strategy to deal with the oil giants and those who are exploiting our mineral and natural resources.
I suggested that they identify some person/persons to bring them together for the sake of Guyana.
The only response I have had so far, expressing a willingness to sit and talk with others, has been from Mr. Aubrey Norton,
This failure to respond to this initiative is inconsistent with the rhetoric of One Guyana and our Independence Motto of One People, One Nation, One Destiny. This is a sad and sorry situation.
Are our Leaders so blind, so obtuse and so self-opinionated, that they cannot understand that if we approach these conglomerates, government and opposition, making the same demands we will obtain greater benefits for our people.
When there was a need to face a mighty conglomerate, in the interest of the people, our two Titans, Forbes Burnham and Cheddi Jagan got together. Why aren’t our current Leaders learning?
Frankly Editor, we don’t need a single new investor to make Guyana grow and be prosperous. What we need are Guyanese and other experts, honest men and women to monitor, control and ensure those who are already here, pay their fair share of taxes, and accurately report the quantities of oil, bauxite, timber, gold and diamonds being harvested.
Beyond that, let us leave some of these non-renewable resources for the use and benefit of future Guyanese who would be developing the appropriate technology and resources. Let me quote the wisdom of a former Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister who superintended Trinidad’s Independence “oil don’t spoil.” As a Guyanese I say, ‘gold don’t rust, bauxite and timber don’t disappear and give our fish and fauna a chance to multiply.”
Why have we not used up the World Bank Loan signed and agreed in March 2019 to provide for the training of Guyanese and others to acquire the skills to manage the oil and gas sector such as producing up to date legislation and strengthening the capabilities of relevant agencies such as the EPA, Ministry of Finance, Guyana revenue Authority, etc?
It is no secret that with the dark clouds of corruption, we are not now reaping a fraction of the potential benefits, so why run all over the world, inviting new Investors and Investments when we lack the institutional capacity to deal with what we already have. Silly steps of sheer stupidity reminiscent of the Biblical injunction of sowing seeds on barren ground or are we comfortable to operate in an environment, which allows for secrecy, nepotism and corruption.
A Government that is truly wedded to inclusive democracy should initiate meaningful consultation, to provide expertise particularly in the oil sector and also immediately double the wages and salaries of public sector employees who after all must keep the engine of the ship of state well maintained and functioning, the soldier, the police, the fireman, the teacher, administrators, security personnel, etc.
Dear Editor, this letter is one of hope because again, leaning on human history, I still believe that the ‘pen is mightier than the sword.’
I remember the following written by Mark Almond, “Why do people revolt? What are the roots of revolution? How do some uprisings succeed in overturning society while others fail? Civil Discontent is as old as human society. History has been punctuated by uprisings, injustice and ambition have fed the urge to transform society. For most of recorded history, the vast majority of humankind has been peasants toiling for the benefit of a few masters. Once the demands of the local lord were satisfied, there was little left to meet their own basic needs. Yet revolt rarely led to fundamental change. Uprisings pock mark history as do their frequently brutal suppressions, but successful revolutions were rare until modern times.”
Dear Editor, let us ask all of our Leaders and those they purport to lead, to wake up from their slumber and together tackle the same monster that thought that nothing was wrong with slavery, imperialism, indentureship and colonial exploitation.
Let us together tackle that monster like men and not mice.
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