Sep 28, 2022 Letters
I hear the word renegotiation swirling around Guyana like a fever, causing much sweating. The thought is that renegotiation is now more like a shroud tightening us in a vise that could mummify this nation. The PNC (Coalition) tried a thing with royalty, and it paid dearly. That is, the door. The PPP knows this, and is determined not to go anywhere near all these heated calls for renegotiation. What’s going on? Really happening in the head of the man that matters, meaning, the Hon. Vice President?
He knows that Former President, David Granger touched the 2016 oil contract, and forced Exxon to amendit ever so slightly in 2019, and look what he got for his troubles. Tamper with that sacred repugnance (contract), and political curses cascade. Just ask Granger and the PNC. Down and out. In obedience to American-influenced political physics, when the PNC went down, the PPP rebounded to where it is today. Faustian bargain or not, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that the VP or the PPP is going near renegotiation; or the substances of such. The darned thing is dangerously electrified. It is why the big chief hems and haws, engages in verbal gymnastics, found a calling in circuitous mental gyrations. The VP’s head and heart have hardened: no renegotiation, buddy. Thus, he signals Texas and Washington: don’t worry, be happy, a la Dr. Jagan.
My point is that Exxon had a problem. When Exxon has a problem, it is America’s problem. Who knew what Granger would do next with the contract. Who was prepared to take a risk with whatever new ideas may percolate in his head (renegotiation, for example). After all, this business of renegotiation, or the slow amending of its provisions is nothing but a creeping form of contract reengineering by another name, through the painstaking steps of piecemeal amendments, leading to step-by-step contract erosion. Royalty addendum is the precedent. It is a bad muddah.
The Americans had to do something, and there was just the officer on duty for the moment. Study Ambassador Lynch, like Henry Kissinger, shuttling to the then Opposition Leader, now Guyana’s leading oilman. The oil contract is the issue, what’s the answer? It was an offer that the Opposition Leader couldn’t refuse. Guyana got democracy, Exxon received it much sought-after guarantee that the contract is safe, in good hands with the PPP and VP. In Guyanese lingo, the Ambassador’s coded message to DC was ‘doan tek wurreez.’ It’s how the real world operates, folks. When Guyanese thought that they got free and fair was, at the core, freedom from fear for Exxon about any dratted contract renegotiation.
For skeptical Guyanese, I tender a compressed primer on oil. Revisit 1954 and Iran, then Libya, last Venezuela, and Mossadegh, Gaddafi, and Chavez respectively. Check what happened to all of them. The common thread was and remains oil, and I urge Guyanese to connect the dots. Imagine if Cheddi Jagan was around and Guyana discovered oil. He would have had a choice, be a Putin or a Rasputin. As the Yankees would say, same difference.
To emphasize, renegotiation, as measured by Exxon andthe US Government.is a creeping form of that dreadful word beginning with an ‘n’, whichis the enemy of free enterprise. Considering all this, the 2019 pushback on royalty through that amendment does confirm that both parties today, the PPP Government and Exxon, can take to the table, come up with what is better for Guyana. The 100-lb skunk in the room, for the PPP and VP to contemplate is what happened to those who interfered with that contract, where they are today. Granger is gone. Rod Henson is gone. Vincent Adams tried his hand, indirectly, and down he went.Regardless of how analyzed, or viewed, the contract between Guyana and Exxon, is like the Hope diamond.Go near it or touch it, and the Fates intervene. The VP knows this, notwithstanding his chatter about new models and PSAs. Whatever he comes up with, would have been proofread before by Exxon. To make clear: before. Guyanese had Burnham magic earlier, now they will have to live with Exxon-PPP sorcery.
Exxon has to put up a sign board across the Demerara Harbour Bridge to tell Guyanese what % of revenue we are getting from the Stabroek Block!
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