Jan 18, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We are beginning to ask whether this great oil patrimony is more of a curse than a blessing. Each new day brings a new and alarming development, which serves as the basis for the preceding sentence, the concern expressed. Today, when all Guyanese should be rejoicing over their rich gifts, there is worry that the prospering touch and taste of this oil would be out of reach of most Guyanese. Plenty is coming to the surface from a comprehensive and credible Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) commissioned by ExxonMobil for its fifth oil project in Guyana, Uaru.
First, Guyanese learned from the EIA for this fifth project, that the local fishing sector could be decimated. This is a troubling consideration, given that the fishing sector is taking its share of licks. Fisherfolk had already complained about poor catch, and a different quality of catch, despite spending longer times and more money per trip in our fishing grounds. The claims are that there is a direct correlation with the activities of ExxonMobil in existing oil fields. The PPPC Government and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have said little on this. The Minister of Agriculture did take a stab at separating ExxonMobil’s oil activities from what is being experienced by Guyanese fishermen, but he quickly closed his playbook and disappeared into the woodwork of silence. Poor fishing catch means that availability of marine products on the local markets becomes scarce, and prices skyrocket inflicting still more pain on Guyanese.
Next, the same voluminous EIA pointed out that a severe oil spill could result in incalculable damage to not just Guyana, but extend to several countries in the region, most notably, tourism reliant Trinidad and Tobago. If a huge oil spill did occur, there is the high probability that catastrophic consequences could be felt by Trinidad, Aruba, and others. Our oil wealth of which so much is talked about currently could be all but useless, and all our oil potential (earnings) be meaningless, given the deep hole in which Guyana would find itself. This newspaper, and several commentators, have called for full liability coverage by ExxonMobil’s parent company, if only to give Guyana some level of financial protection should there be a well blowout. Considering that Guyana is bent on pumping oil as fast as it can, which was stated by no less a figure than President Ali himself at the Global Investors Summit 2023 in India, there are always going to be risks attached to working at such breakneck speeds, and with which ExxonMobil would be only too delighted to push the envelope. There is no local watchdog at our offshore oilfields, which gives ExxonMobil a free and clear hand to cut corners and take chances. It is not the kind of company to let such a golden opportunity go by untouched, which is dangerous for Guyana.
Now, the same EIA is pinpointing the woeful, disconnected, hodgepodge, and free for all state of our ports (“Accelerated oil development with ad hoc governance, outdated laws, could sink Guyana’s shipping, transport industry -Exxon study” (KN January 13). As if we do not have deficits and concerns enough already, now there is this part of the EIA study that pulls no punches. Our ports came in for a beating, with their construction, labor force, limitations all identified, and none given any decent marks. There are legislative deficits, with a new governance structure urgently needed. There are bottlenecks that cry out for corrective action. And there are maintenance issues relative to the ports, and concerns about the need for ongoing maintenance issues regarding the dredging of channels, which have all lagged. These are a problem because larger ships are prevented from accessing Port Georgetown to deliver their cargoes. The fifth project, Uaru, will only intensify the pressures and burdens that are part of the norm today.
In all this, Guyana is many days late, and many dollars short. We cannot cope, yet we are rushing along with more projects. We lack framework, structure, knowledge, equipment, and resolve, but we are hurrying forward. This is either rank stupidity or unequalled insanity at work. If we are not careful, the oil blessing can mutate into the worst of curses.
3 min. Tiktok who deh with who
Jan 27, 2023ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies (CWI) yesterday announced that former West Indies Captain and batting legend, Brian Lara, has agreed to assist CWI as a Performance Mentor – working...
Jan 27, 2023
Jan 27, 2023
Jan 27, 2023
Jan 27, 2023
Jan 27, 2023
Kaieteur News – Let me be incandescent in my words to follow. I was trained in history when I first entered university.... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the Organization... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]