Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:52 AM
Mar 08, 2023 Letters
I wish to make it quite clear that I have no problem with investments in our country and for the development of our people especially through foreign investors. I am one who welcome Exxon Mobil with all my heart. However, like former Presidents Forbes Burnham and Dr. Cheddi Jagan, I believe in investment with a national and human development form. I do not believe in investments for gluttony, mass collection of wealth for the investing corporations or their shareholders. I believe in investments for equity in distribution of wealth amongst the people of our country, our government and our national development ethos. And yes a fair sum for the investors.
We know that investors like to sap everything which leads to the death of investments and nations. Historically, foreign corporate investors so to say, were involved for the sake of profits and more profits and enrichment of their developed countries and their shareholders only! History has shown that they overthrow governments, enslaved nations, and destroyed environments all in the sake of profiteering.
In my opinion, unfortunately, in many cases in modern times the situation is similar though beautifully white washed to make it look as if they care for the nation’s people. As if there is some form of consideration for us. When all they want is our resources we have in our ground, our land, our seas or jungles and our peoples.
It is now history that Justice Nareshwar Harnanan, Judge of the High Court of Judicature of Guyana on the 16th December, 2022 ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency breached its statutory duty by issuing environmental permits to Schlumberger-Guyana Inc. and waiving the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the construction of a Radioactive Chemical Facility. The Judge indicated that the decision of the EPA to not do so was illegal, ultra vires, unreasonable, irrational and a breach of the Environmental Protection Act, Cap. 20:05. As a result, he ordered the quashing of an environmental permit issued by the EPA on 9th June, 2021 in favour of Schlumberger, a subcontractor of ExxonMobil, to permit it to construct a radioactive substances and materials storage and calibration facility at Lot 1 Area X Houston on the East Bank of Demerara. Justice Harnanan granted an injunction against the company from continuing the possession, use and storage of radioactive chemicals at its Houston Facility (Sunday Stabroek 5th Feb, 2023). I wish to state that I have no problem with Foreign Investors investing in Guyana. I am a strong supporter of the work of ExxonMobil to bring economic benefits to countries for the upliftment of countries in an environmentally sustainable way.
We the citizens of this country owe a great debt to Danuta Radzik, Vanda Radzik and Raphael Singh, the brave and courageous residents of Houston, for bringing this matter to the High Court of Judicature of Guyana. Only God knows what would have been the future of this country and the citizens of this country had a catastrophe taken place!
But then we see an attempt being tried by Schlumberger to recontinue with its radioactive source storage and calibration facility operations by reapplying to the EPA again for permission to continue with its construction of such a facility.
My opinion is that the Government of Guyana should realize that the people of this country are against this project. And under no circumstances should anyone within government or powerful voice or personality should dare to think that the people of this country would allow such a monstrosity as radioactive source to be stored and utilized in Guyana for whatever benefits. I think that this matter needs to now be dealt with at the highest level of the Judicature.
Schlumberger through its PR Company IMEX Inc on 7th February, 2023 then organized and hosted a public stakeholder engagement regarding its Radioactive Source Storage and Calibration Operations, at the Parc Rayne Conference Hall, in Houston. Quite a number of persons showed up, inclusive of yours truly, but the strategy there was only to ‘pull wool over the eyes’ of the residents and citizens and not answering directly and extensively the questions and concerns of the citizens /residents raised at that forum. This has led me to conclude sadly, that Schlumberger seems only to care for their profitability, and are bereft of any love for our country and our citizens. For them, it seems it is only Money! Money! Money! and Profit! Profit for the shareholders. The PR company IMEX Inc. has done a very poor job of representing Schlumberger and they seem to care nothing of the peoples of this country.
Therefore, I now have some very serious questions and concerns to ask and to raise here in the media on the construction of this project by Schlumberger:
In the presentation, it was stated that these Radioactive Source that would be stored at the intended Schlumberger Storage Facility site at Houston would be used in/are needed for the exploration activities of the oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, here in Guyana. But if this is so, how are these oil companies managing to extract successfully for the oil presently here now in Guyana and that is been exported?
Are these radioactive hazardous materials produced here in Guyana? That would allow for the country of Guyana to be the site of storage of these dangerous hazardous substances?
If these radioactive hazardous substances are not being produced here in Guyana from which country/countries are they being sent to Guyana from?
Why or by what method was the area of Houston selected by Exxon/Schlumberger to be the storage site location?
What protective measures (Emergency response measures, environmental cleanup measures, etc) does the company have in place should there be a chemical spillage from this storage site for the people of the area, the environment, and Guyana at large)? In me asking this question, they could give no answer.
Would Schlumberger and Exxon Mobil be willing to cover the health care costs of persons for a lifetime should there be a catastrophic spillage of radioactive material from this storage facility. God forbid that this should ever take place! In asking this question, I got no answer.
Has Exxon Mobil considered the financial effects to its company and its company’s reputation should a spill disaster occur from this waste facility? What of its consideration to its shareholders, etc.?
Questions regarding the safe transportation of the Radioactive source materials in the Oceans especially the Caribbean Sea, and waters of Guyana in the case of tropical storms, hurricanes, etc.
Hajji Dr. Roshan Khan
They are being paid while we are being played…your pain is their gain!
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