Jan 16, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Promises, promises, promises have been the style and slickness of the PPPC Government. If it were a courtship that was engaged in, then the Government of Guyana would have been hauled before the courts, for jilting those it claims to love, for serial breach of promise. But the issues at stake are more than the routine of lovers falling out, or one side getting cold feet, or roving eyes and fast hands. The issues are national in implications, and cover plenty of rich territory.
The man with the long-awaited answers to the issues tabled is the Hon. Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat. Guyana’s Vice President, Bharat Jagdeo, has dumped some live grenades into the Minister’s lap. In the Vice President’s own resonant words, the directive was, “Talk to Vick about that. Vick is more familiar with that. That’s his portfolio.” The first thing to be said about that lateral from the Vice President to the Minister is that we did not know, it did not appear, that Minister Bharrat had any ‘portfolio’ to speak of, so totally dominant is the long, huge, thick shadow of Vice President Jagdeo over the Natural Resources minister.
Aside from that, we have heard promises like these made before, and Guyanese are still in the same place, with no delivery, nothing received. But, as the Vice President did insist, “Talk to Vick.” Now Vick (Minister Bharrat) is set to stand before the Guyanese public today, and share the goods. He himself has committed to doing so, on this Monday. According to the Minister, circumstances had gotten in the way, but he is ready to enlighten Guyanese about mining contracts, and the status of the audit of US$7.3B in expenses submitted by ExxonMobil for payment.
Vick is the man who got the pick, and it is our hope that Vick will not be slick, and refrain from presenting any trick. Today, this Monday, is V-Day, and D-Day (Vick day and delivery day), we shall see. The large mining contracts have been promised and promised, and the nation is still waiting. The Vice President, a man of great resourcefulness, sent this publication (and other Guyanese) to the Guyana Revenue Authority, and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, only for a wall of silence to be encountered, and a blank drawn at each place on every occasion.
Now, there was this development, compliments of the Vice President, of “Talk to Vick”, and Vick himself is getting ready to step forward on this Monday. Will it be one of revelation? Or will it be a day of more convolution and concoction, and the continuing frustration, that have been an ongoing ingredient of getting transparency from the PPPC Government? To be clear, Minister Vick has indicated that he will be coming forward to deliver updates on both the large mining contracts that have been a mystery, and the ExxonMobil audit, which has been a source of unending controversy and speculation.
Because the PPPC Government has made caginess a major plank in its governance structure and conduct, much hinges on what interpretation it attaches to that word “updates” which could turn out to be loaded. Will Minister Vick Bharrat give up the goose this Monday, with a clear and convincing canvas of what presents Guyanese with more than they know now? Or are his updates going to be the usual hemming and hawing, the dodging and the drifting, to buy some more time, for the government to engage in some more secrecy?
Put differently, will Minister Vick Bharrat reveal or conceal? We will extend the benefit of trust to Minister Bharrat, in the hope that whatever he has in mind for “updates” they will give Guyanese significantly more than they know and have now. It must be that the mining contracts are made public in whole, and not snippets of meaningless information articulated. It must be that the promised “preliminary report” for the ExxonMobil audit that should have been delivered in December is a done deal, and that it is available for scrutiny. The worst thing that Minister Vick could do is to continue the culture of commitments, with nothing delivered. The PPPC Government must come good in these “updates.”
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