Nov 16, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – When the PPPC Government is determined to move against obstacles, its leaders pull out all the stops, and power ahead. It does not matter if the obstacle is environmental or human. If it is not bowled over, it is trampled upon, or squeezed out of the way. All of this stands in sharp contrast to how the Government of Guyana is dealing with ExxonMobil, and what it puts out when handling that powerful American presence in the local arena.
The record will show that President Ali, Vice President Jagdeo, and Minister of Natural Resources Bharrat all walk on tiptoe around ExxonMobil. Any Guyanese concerns and push for ExxonMobil to be engaged or confronted to get more for our oil is blocked by these leaders. Any call from Guyanese for ExxonMobil to be pressured into a meeting of the minds, so that Guyana can get a better share, one that is fairer, for its oil wealth, and the PPPC Government and its leaders spring into action without right resistance, or some verbal slickness.
Talk about a better deal from ExxonMobil for our prize possession, the 26,000 plus kilometers Stabroek Block, and President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo transform into totally different men. There are no longer swaggering and confident leaders, but ones coming across as fearful, nervous, and feeble. In some form or the other, what the President and Vice President put out is the equivalent of sword fencing and dancing around, and trying their best to slip around any talk about renegotiation of the 2016 oil contract. Neither has a word of encouragement to give to Guyanese about the same rich Stabroek Block, and that upcoming projects will only be approved using the Vice President’s new terms in the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that he so proudly put before the nation.
We are working hard today to give leaders the benefit of the doubt. This applies especially to Vice President Jagdeo, when we avoid using the word deceptive to represent what all of them are doing with this Stabroek Block, and how they shy away, like startled horses, from approaching ExxonMobil to get more for Guyanese. We are also concerned that the Coalition Opposition, on occasion, has not been as vociferous and demanding as its leaders should be, where oil in general is involved, and ExxonMobil specifically must be backed up against the wall, and made to see the light.
His Excellency, President Ali himself has described ExxonMobil as a “superpower” to deal with in conversation. That may be so, and is to be expected, but the President has a bigger trump card up his sleeve that even superpower ExxonMobil must come to grips with, and ignore to its detriment. It is that Guyana is a sovereign nation, and that what we want from anyone operating in the coveted Stabroek Block, we must get. Our sovereignty beats the superpower strength of ExxonMobil. Our sanctity of sovereignty must and should always come out ahead of any sanctity of contract that ExxonMobil puts on the table, which is even more repulsive when we were tricked and cheated so much before and again today.
The fifth project, Uaru, is mere weeks from approval, and President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo must find the steel in their spines to stand up to ExxonMobil, and insist that this is the way that things are going to be. In other words, the 10% royalty and 10% tax would apply, starting now. Then, all those other provisions about ring-fencing and cost threshold, and the rest, of Jagdeo’s new PSA must become part of what is approved. Guyanese would be behind President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo whenever they are ready to confront ExxonMobil for more from upcoming Stabroek Block projects. Guyanese would be as one with both leaders with whatever they demand from ExxonMobil for us. Let the new PSA terms and numbers takeover, be what come in force.
ExxonMobil can make its bed and rest on its sanctity of contract, despite the criminal nature of the repulsive contract itself. Guyanese can take strength from the full fruits of its sanctity of sovereignty. It just can’t be beat, and those who see it differently can go their way.
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