Latest update May 31st, 2023 12:59 AM
May 23, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The Opposition spoke about oil recently. Frankly, Guyanese would have been better off if the Opposition had stayed silent, said not a single word. For when the Opposition was pressed to say something about the nation’s oil patrimony and its stewardship, a mess resulted. For all that the Opposition put on the table before the nation about oil, it did not say much of substance, nor provided any inspiration for Guyanese.
The Opposition Leader, Mr. Aubrey Norton, in his last press conference, spoke in these great abstractions. The best that we can say is that he offered haze for a start, then added layers upon layers of more haze. The subject was oil, what the world is talking about relative to its Guyana discoveries and their significances, and the best that Guyana’s main political Opposition could come up with is that the party has to be “strategic and tactical” and “we are working on our policy position” and “we have a constituency and we have to first of all educate them before we actually say to the world [our plans]”.
This is not just dense, but appalling in content, and striking in implications. Oil was first discovered about eight years ago, and for anybody in Guyana to talk about “educate” or “working” on this or that aspect of their oil position is indicative of great sloth, arguably incompetence, and definitely unpardonable dereliction of duty. What sort of utter nonsense is this that the Guyanese people are hearing? Surely, the biggest political opposition presence in Guyana and its leader could have come up with better than this fluff, this verbal and mental shallowness, could it not?
With the PPP/C Government juggernaut on a roll, and mangling the management of this oil, Guyanese need a clear and coherent understanding of where the Opposition stands with their patrimony. Instead of getting a robust understanding from the Opposition, there is this deliberate vagueness, which could be reflective of its pathetic cluelessness, it unreadiness to take the helm and do battle to get justice for the hopeful peoples of this country.
After almost five years in government, and now close to three years in Opposition, it is more than reasonable to expect, to demand, that the Opposition show its hand, and pull its weight, with this trillion-dollar (American) oil and gas sector. By the time that the Opposition is ready to unveil its long-awaited plans for the sector, such could be meaningless, for the commodity would have been long depleted. Opposition Leader Norton spoke of educating his constituency; if that is still a work in progress, then he has already missed the boat. The world is not waiting on him with bated breath, to assess the strengths and visions embedded in his plans. It is either his party has them now, or it doesn’t.
Further, if after all this time, the Opposition could look at Guyanese in the eye, and speak of “working on our policy position” where this rich sector is concerned has to be more than a cruel joke. It just might be a smokescreen for so many other maneuvers and games being played behind the scenes. Taking only the approximately three years that the group is in Opposition, it is already way too long and now useless for anyone to speak about still refining their “policy position”. Moreover, “strategic and tactical” are nothing but buzzwords utilized by those who have little in their tank. None of this is persuasive, and suggests that Guyana’s political Opposition is over its head where oil and gas is concerned.
Vice President Jagdeo, a special oil case by himself, has dismissed the Opposition as “lazy”. On this one, we think he is onto something, and it is vast. The Vice President also said that “Mr. Norton…on the oil and gas side, I don’t know what his positions are…” It would be a shock if anybody in Guyana does, and this extends to Opposition Leader Norton himself. The problem with this oil, as we assess matters, is that both the government and the Opposition have played fast and loose with this oil wealth, and nobody has strongly called them out on it, sharply condemned them for it.
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