Nov 18, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – A number of Guyanese, 40 of them, and 5 civil society groups have made a simple and sensible request, a recommendation, to the 1 man officially in charge of this country. It is that he stops, takes stock of the nation’s oil situation, weighs the risks, and then decides what is the best way forward. Because this is a commonsense course of action, 40 individuals, plus 5 groups of people, should represent significant weight, wield much influence, on serious matters, such as the stewardship of the nation’s oil. The difference is that this is not a regular place, where reasoning and logicare lost arts. This is Guyana, where anything goes, and whatever the one leader decides upon, no matter how flawed, this is how Guyana goes.
Guyana is a rich place, of which there can be no argument. Also now confirmed is that Guyana is also gifted with many people, who are not the best of listeners, nor the clearest and cleanest of thinkers, nor anywhere near the top of the pile where straight truths, plain truths, and only truths are prized possessions. As is now obvious, the PPPC Government suffers from severe deficiencies of such negative attributes. For here we have a national leader being called upon, being shown the light, and yet he is a picture of stubborn resistance.
What is it that he sees and knows that all Guyanese, not just those 40 persons and 5 groups, find it so difficult to grasp? The oil business is complicated and loaded with oil companies and their partners in crime that are experts in ripping off poor, ignorant oil producing nations, and exposing them to every kind of dangerous risks. The name of the game is profitability at all costs, and the more the better, and the quicker that such profits could be had, then that is best of all.
At the rate that Guyana race along, there are financial risks (debt binges and agonizing hangovers). At the ramped-up rate of production, above the recommended safety limits, there is great environmental risk. One slip of consequence and Guyana tumbles uncontrollably down the road to national bankruptcy. It would be too late then, and oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Hess, and the rest would simply catch their planes and leave Guyana in the mess. These are among the things that those 40 concerned Guyanese, and 5 alarmed civil society groups, have placed before the President.
Like we said, there is little optimism that the President is listening, ever gives the close hearing that is required of what goes against his positions, his narratives. It has been a consistent feature of the one leader that could make a difference, who is too consumed with his own wisdoms, a man carried away by the feel of his self-congratulations. The sad fact, the worrying fact, is that the President doesn’t know as much as should know, yet he could care less, which is what pushes past his pretenses.
Notwithstanding all this, Guyana’s President still knows what is right, the sensible thing, to do. For some reason unknown to us, he seems helpless to make any moves about what is good for Guyana. A national moratorium (pause) on oil production would be one such good development, as recommended by the alarmed Guyanese. It is said that one of the best signs of an outstanding leader, or one who has the potential to be such, is that he or she listens to what is not wished to be heard or constructively absorbs what no one else is saying to his or her face.
We think that the 40 Guyanese men and women, and the 5 civil society groups that wrote the President did him a priceless favour. They laid out in the frankest terms what hangs over Guyana’s head, possibly that of its neighbours. Regarding whether the President will return the favour by doing what was recommended to him, we don’t see that happening. ExxonMobil has too much power in Guyana. ExxonMobil holds all the cards. ExxonMobil has Guyana’s leaders by the bolts and nuts and it is not releasing that fatal grip. Ordinary Guyanese will be the ones paying the price, not any politician.
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