Jan 24, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We must be thankful for small mercies in this country. Though there are usually far apart, we are glad to take them when we get them. Any sturdy Guyanese presence would count, should be hailed, from other media presences to a Judge or two more, to several Politicians, if such can be found at all, to civil society contributors who speak to truth and from the heart about what is really going on in this country.
We need a few more Guyanese, who stand up and serve as examples of what it is to be honest, principled, wise, and courageous. High Court Judge Nareshwar Harnanan has set the bar for Guyanese to follow. The issue is whether other Guyanese have what it takes to follow, to stand up in their own right, and say that they see through the veils and secrecies, the concoctions of Government and foreign companies, as those relate to the exploitation of our opportunities, and our rich natural resources.
Judge Harnanan’s position is that there will be no stay of his prior judgement that Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to waive the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Schlumberger’s facility at Houston posed a danger to the community, inclusive of schools, religious houses, and residents. To think that Guyana’s EPA could casually conclude that an EIA is not needed for a facility that would store hazardous (radioactive) material in a populated area scares the daylight out of us, and should do the same for all Guyanese, regardless of whether they live in Houston or elsewhere. What else is the EPA capable of overlooking, or giving a free pass?
If the EPA could turn its face on what would involve radioactive materials, then any horror, any peril, any potentially lethal development that comes under its purview stands a similar chance of a blind eye being turned. Thank the stars and whatever great force is above them, that there is a Guyanese of the caliber, of the fearlessness, as Judge Harnanan. He is looking out for Guyanese, and that is why there is no reception for a stay of his ruling against the EPA and, by extension and result, Schlumberger, a major player in ExxonMobil’s continually expanding web of operations and intrigues in Guyana. No stay for two months and no stay for even 28 days for the removal of radioactive material at the Houston facility of Schlumberger, and with that we are in full agreement.
How is it that the storage of radioactive materials could be possible in Houston, and now that it has to be removed? Of what good, what purpose, is Guyana’s EPA when something of this dangerous nature occurs under its watch? Why is that the entire EPA is not disbanded, or its people sent packing? What if the Radzik sisters and Mr. Raphael Singh were not alert and assertive and valiant for their rights, their safety, and that of neighbors? Would ExxonMobil and its partner Schlumberger ever think of building such a facility in Houston, Texas and storing such harmful materials there? Is the health and life of poor, colored people in this country of lesser importance and value than those of Caucasians in the Lone Star State?
Even in an oil-crazy, oil powered, and oil committed state like Texas, we do not believe that such would have ever been allowed to get off the ground. Again, we are glad for the Radziks and Singh, and a Judge Harnanan, standing at the bridge and holding it against all odds. ExxonMobil and Schlumberger are not going to give up, they may even go ‘judge shopping’ in Guyana to press their case in the hope of overturning the existing ruling of Judge Harnanan. As far as we at this publication are concerned, this matter should be considered dead and buried. For Schlumberger to apply for a stay in the judgment is an indication of its insulting regard for Guyanese processes, and Guyanese wellbeing. If only Guyana could find more sons and daughters that recognize the brutal assaults on our dignity and safety, and tighten their belts to do something about those, then we could be masters of both our wealth, and our destiny.
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