Nov 15, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – In some corner of this country, some people are going to be more than heavily disappointed. In fact, they are going to be sharply and bitterly upset at a recent judicial decision. The Chief Justice (ag) in Guyana’s High Court has ordered that Ramps Logistics, Inc. be issued a Local Content Certificate promptly.
It is proof positive that a handful of judicial tribunes in this country will look first, foremost, and always on the law to arrive at their rulings. They will employ the attributes of learning and wisdom that they have accumulated over the years to see to it that justice is served, regardless of who is involved.
They are neither swayed by the weight of the all-powerful, all-encircling State, nor are they influenced by the politics that has seeped into every nook and cranny of this country’s life. Though they may look with kindness and sympathy on the underdogs, the tenets of the law still have to be obeyed. We wish that we had more of these men and women in robes, who could be strongly and accurately assessed and concluded to be about law and justice, and this is regardless of who are the parties locked in judicial contest. It sets the stage, provides that vital check and balance, the working brakes, on what is improper and cannot pass review because it would be a desecration of justice, through violation of law and the policies and procedures that are sourced in it.
With that having been said, we must make something clear. We have no relationship of any kind with Ramp Logistics, and hold no brief for the company. But if and when the requirements of the law are met, and in the clearest fashion, then only the law must prevail. In view of the High Court’s ruling, it would be interesting to see how the Local Content Secretariat responds. That is, how energetically and how fully it complies with the directive(s) of the court, and of which there is not much room for misinterpretation, or space to manoeuvre. It is that Ramp Logistics must be given the authority and freedom to operate its business uninhibited by further bureaucratic delay, or any other official obstacles.
Among some other subtexts coming out of this Ramps affair, are the extents to which Guyana’s Local Content Secretariat went to put the kiss of death on the company’s operations and business prospects. It seems as though the whole kitchen sink was thrown at the company, under the auspices of State efforts, including identifying its alleged failures in other areas, notably with regard to the honouring of what is required under Guyana’s tax laws. As a senior official of the company attested, Ramps Logistics was staring at the equivalent of “financial ruin” given its investments, and also considering its binding commitments, its relationships, and the associated expectations. That may have been so, but our position is still unchanged, viz., those who break the laws of this country must be brought before the bar of justice, and be made to bear the full weight of the law, once found guilty.
This is particularly relevant in our oil and gas business, where so many foreign companies and foreigners are rushing to Guyana to seize a piece of the rich opportunities that are present for the easy picking. We welcome such outsiders, and hope that they prosper, but only as long as they follow the dictates of our laws and standards. We are not against foreign investments or foreigners in the least; and any thinking to the contrary only represents that which is most distant from the truth. On the other hand, if and when there is tinkering with the range of our local content provisions and mandates, then the violators should be sent packing on the next plane leaving from Guyana.
This should be so to send a message to others coming here and thinking of doing the same scheming and gaming of what we have on the books, what must be complied with completely. Our stance is simple: this is our wealth, we own it, and we Guyanese must get first claims on its opportunities, and the best that those have to offer.
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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