Nov 30, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – It was a foregone conclusion, just a matter of when the Wales Gas-to-Energy (GTE) would be approved. There were never any ifs or buts or maybes about the GTE happening, the ExxonMobil pipeline part of it. It was always a done deal, whenever Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could muster the courage, and suppress its shame, to do the bidding of the political bosses that are responsible for appointments, paycheques, and job security.
Financial study or not, updated feasible studies or not, the GTE in all its three prongs was going to happen. The GTE being the most expensive project to date that this country is about to undertake had no bearing on the final decisions, and this is regardless of what is going to be the final cost. This is how transparent the PPPC Government, the President, and the Vice President were all about this project. To repeat our standing mantra: Guyanese urgently need a cheap and reliable source of energy for both residential, commercial, and other reasons. We at this paper are all for such a project, but under several nonnegotiable conditions.
First, that Guyanese are presented with the clearest understanding of the essentials of the project. Second that the proper studies by proven and credible international experts are completed. Third, that the reports of such experts are made public, so that citizens can appreciate what they are getting, that it makes sense, and that there is a basis for this project. The fact that the people, who are paying for the GTE have not been fully informed of what the GTE involves leaves them guessing, and wondering about the need for all this secrecy, this continuing leadership resistance to coming clean on its elements.
Now, from the EPA’s mouth, there is the disclosure that ExxonMobil is being granted “reasonable time” so that it can provide “financial assurance” (“EPA gives approval for Gas-to-Energy project without insurance guarantee”, KN November 28). Giving a savvy and cunning set of people, like those running ExxonMobil, “reasonable time” is the equivalent of giving them all the time in the world to play their usual delaying games. ExxonMobil’s thinkers and strategists have more than enough time to come up with new tricks and gimmicks, and to define “financial assurance” that suits only the company, and the compromised sellouts we have for politicians in this country.
In the EPA’s own words, it “is satisfied that the project can be conducted in accordance with good environmental practices, and in a manner that avoids, prevents and minimizes any adverse effects which could result from the activity.” We don’t have the confidence, many Guyanese also don’t, that the EPA really knows what it is about. It does not have the expertise or the depth of experience to make those pronouncements. Truth be told, the EPA clearly struggles with what is its first priority, its primary duty, which is to lookout for, and protect, the Guyanese people, and safeguard their interests.
Further, the EPA persists in speaking of ‘reviews’ and ‘independent international experts’ and ‘recommendations’, yet these have all been hidden from the Guyanese public. Having said this, it must be recognized that the EPA and its supervisory board(s) are not their own decision-makers. Instead, there are those master puppeteers that jerk the strings of this vital State Agency, and makes its people run out in public, and do any embarrassing dance to suit their (the puppeteers) ambitions and visions. When consideration is given to the fancy footwork that the EPA engages in, through “reasonable time” and “financial assurance”, it becomes clear it is nothing but the same old cloak and dagger governance practices of the PPPC Government at work. ExxonMobil is on top of the world with its record shattering earnings, and here is backward, woeful Guyana talking about giving it time to provide “financial assurance.” It wouldn’t be for Guyana, but for itself.
The fingerprints of those involved in this GTE project speak a certain language. It is of what alarms, and informs Guyanese taxpayers that there are big doses of trouble likely to come with this project. When frankness was important, Guyanese got secretiveness. When politicians had to be clear and clean, they couldn’t help themselves.
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