Sep 05, 2022 News
– Int’l lawyer says Govt. acting as cheerleaders for predatory foreign companies, not servants of Guyanese
Kaieteur News – In her latest assessment of the PPP/C Administration’s management of the oil industry, International Lawyer, Melinda Janki said she is left to conclude that the government is walking in the footsteps of its predecessor, the APNU+AFC faction which made huge blunders with the sector.
Janki is of the firm conviction that the PPP which had criticized the opposition for selling out the country’s patrimony with the lopsided 2016 Stabroek Block Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) is now guilty of selling out the country’s future by doing nothing to correct the exploitative deal.
The lawyer said, “In 2019, the Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo when he was the leader of the Opposition, said in Parliament ‘…our incompetent government trudged in there unprepared and stuck us with a contract that would harm us for decades into the future. They sold our patrimony.’ Yet, from the moment they got into office, the PPP/C government has done nothing to protect the Guyanese people from that harmful and abusive contract.”
Janki added, “The PPP/C seems to have forgotten that under the Constitution of Guyana, they are the servants of the Guyanese people. They are not the cheerleaders for rapacious foreign companies.” Janki articulated that the 2016 PSA gives the Guyanese people 12.5 barrels of oil out of every 100 barrels of oil, plus a tiny 2% royalty. She stressed that Exxon’s affiliate and Stabroek Block operator, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) along with its partners, Hess Corporation and CNOOC Petroleum Limited get everything else. In fact, Janki stated that they get around 7 times what Guyana gets for its oil. The lawyer said this lopsided affair should have been changed while adding that key loopholes in the contract should have been plugged.
She said, “…The abusive deal with ExxonMobil and its partners may be more dangerous than citizens realize, especially when examined from an environmental front. Offshore deepwater drilling like the drilling in Guyana’s Stabroek Block is very unpredictable and high risk…Tiny mistakes can have massive consequences.”
As an example, she referenced the infamous Macondo well blowout by British Petroleum (BP) which occurred in 2012. Janki said this incident was caused by small failures. Janki added, “It killed 11 people. It devastated the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal communities lost their livelihoods. That blowout cost BP more than US$70B. The USA, with all its technology and money, still cannot clean up the mess. What would happen if that was Guyana?”
Given how risky and environmentally devastating oil operations can be, she said it is imperative that Guyana be fully protected, adding that the PPP/C Government is yet to provide this level of assurance to the people. She also recalled that Exxon was flaring gas for a year and a half because of faulty compressor woes and it is now producing oil above the safe limits set in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). She noted that former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dr. Vincent Adams has repeatedly stressed that Esso’s operations are not safe operations and that the PPP/C has weakened the standards he had set. Taking the foregoing into consideration, the lawyer questioned, How long will the government ignore the danger to Guyana and the Caribbean? When will the government stop this further abuse that could destroy Guyana’s future? The international lawyer urged the government to start serving the interests of its people and stop bending to the will of the oil companies.
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