Latest update March 26th, 2023 12:59 AM
Feb 07, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – American corporate power, Schlumberger, is going about matters the wrong way. The Houston facility that it so ardently desires be given clearance, to conduct its business stands as a good example of what we present today to fellow Guyanese. The sum of what Schlumberger is seeking to force through in Houston is disrespectful and dangerous to the residents of that community and, still worse, an insult to all Guyana, especially our judiciary.
The range of Schlumberger interests reduces to this: the company wishes to move ahead with its facility in Houston to position itself to offer supporting services to another American company, oil giant ExxonMobil, and in the process capitalise on the lucrative opportunities abounding in Guyana, with a stream of rich profits. With all of this, we are fully supportive, for any company that comes to Guyana to participate in our ballooning oil sector (no sector is excluded) and to profit. We are for that, but on three conditions that are non-negotiable: we, the Guyanese people who own the natural resources wealth, must also benefit richly, and we must be confident that we are safe in all the operations of every foreign company, be it ExxonMobil or Schlumberger or any other. The third condition is that all foreign companies, and those who are sub-contracted by them, must have the highest regard for our laws, elected representatives, systems, and all citizens.
In the pressing haste to push through with its facility in Houston, it is our belief, our position, that is going against, even hostile and disrespectful of, our people, our safety, and our laws. The alarm was already sounded before by three Houston residents, who had the courage to take the matter about Schlumberger’s storing of radioactive and other possibly hazardous materials in its facility in their community to court. In turn, the Guyana Court ruled that Schlumberger ‘s activities must cease. Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on record as saying that it recognizes the decision of the court, but here is Schlumberger persisting with its program of moving ahead with what has been halted. Notices were placed by the company in the media with information relative to public consultations about the same radioactive facility in Houston that was blocked.
It seems that Schlumberger will use its guile, its muscle, and its growing foreign footprint in Guyana to get its way in any way that suits its visions. What Schlumberger is doing is to go around a court ruling. What Schlumberger is manifesting is a great disregard for our judiciary, our fellow citizens, and our concerns for getting things done right, and in way that puts a premium on safeguards for Guyanese. This can never sit right with us, never be acceptable. If this is the way with our judiciary today, then what is next in line to be trampled upon by Schlumberger (and others watching closely), our government? Would Schlumberger think of something like this, and actually summon the nerve, to do so in America or Europe? We don’t think so; not with NIMBY (not in my backyard) held so dearly by citizens of those societies.
For its part, Guyana’s EPA has stated that it is unaware of an application by Schlumberger to restart operations in Houston (KN February 6). The reasonable question that follows is whether Schlumberger makes its own rules, marches to its own drum, regardless where our institutions stand, or what our court has adjudicated. Guyanese should be thankful that there are people still remaining in this country like the Radzik sisters and Mr. Raphael Singh, who will not be intimidated or deterred from standing up for their safety, their rights of citizenship. Their stance and their actions should become the standard for more Guyanese to be aware of what oil companies, and oil related businesses are about, and if such negatively impacts their present and future.
We think that it would be more respectable, more welcoming, if Schlumberger comes right out and state unambiguously that no hazardous material of any type, in any quantity, will be part of their Houston facility and operations. Such a public commitment, duly verified and monitored afterwards, is helpful to mutually better partnerships, and beneficial for all involved.
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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