Kaieteur News – Since other Guyanese have shrunk from calling things as they are, the nasty duty falls to me to clear the air. We are given an education: the fabulous Stabroek Block is untouchable, a sacred oil cow, an inviolable fossil fuel farm and fortress. Sanctity of contract is the fancy legal construction held up as a shield to blunt all arrows, spears, and charges that have the sole objective of dashing it on its head and shattering it into a thousand fragments. But something else got lost in the heated media rhetoric, the political leadership skating, and the private sector and religious sector angling for their own sweet slices of the oil pie. I say it now: the Stabroek Block in Guyana waters is not protected by sanctity of contract alone. Oh no, there is much more.
From my perspective, the Stabroek Block has transformed into hallowed American territory, more than its sphere of vital interests; but existing under its sphere of control. Like American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, the Stabroek Block of Guyana is ours on paper, but it is not fully ours in reality. Sanctity of contract is a convenient and civilized mask, even has a Christian character to it. But it is still a grotesque mask intended to intimidate Guyanese. Exxon is as American as apple pie, the star-spangled banner, and Jack Daniels. To put it more smartly, Exxon is America, and America is all about Exxon.
It is a neat, bloodless way to seize territory without appearing to do so, not even lifting a finger. But when this sanctity of contract hullabaloo and ballyhoo is peered beneath, this is where Guyana’s treasured Stabroek Block terminates. Imagine that an American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, could take time out of his global calendar and sail to Guyana. If naïve and limited Guyanese still think, continue to fool themselves, that it was for some little brown and black and in-between people in a backwater country to be presented with the keys to democracy, then it explains why Guyana is where it is. Loud and clear: Mike Pompeo came here on an inspection tour, and to reassure Field Marshall Sarah Ann Lynch (and assorted covert types) that there is no need to worry, for Washington is watching. Just like how the poor Mexicans lost all those rich oil-bearing lands in Texas and California and New Mexico to the Yankees, so also Guyana lost the Stabroek Block (and much more), but without a shot being fired. That is, except among the warring Guyanese political tribes.
And because America is watchful and desirous of safeguarding her acquisition, it gets anxious when the natives simmer too much, get overly agitated. It was why another vaunted American Secretary of State also wiped his desk clean in a jiffy and extended an urgent invitation (leave alone “summoned” for now) to Guyana’s sitting President Ali and its former President Jagdeo, for a mini-summit and meeting of the minds. Since when did lil Guyana, the poor relationship that everybody shunned, occupy this elevation in American considerations? Or, more harshly, that two national leaders had to be set straight about expectations, and they had better deliver. On matters like sharing the money from the patrimony. On, most importantly, erecting political plate glass and razor wire around Exxon, so as not to draw hostile attention to a venerable American institution and jeopardize its existence.
Put those well-paid advisers and media magicians to work; facilitate them creating a wall of sound (a la Phil Spector) around Exxon, so that Guyanese can taste the fragrance of its beauty, the romance of its presence. Imagine not one, but two presidents, given marching orders, and over their own territory, their own peoples’ patrimony. Whose land is this land? To whom does that oil in that massive oil lake out there belong? Permit me to remove the cotton wool from the eyes of my contemporaries: it is not Guyana’s, does not belong any longer to Guyanese, which is what sanctity of contract guarantees, including a visit from, and a hastily arranged audience with, American Secretaries of State.
Pompeo was to signal securing it; Anthony Blinken was to ram home one message: don’t mess with it, fellas. He has another less demanding offer to articulate: there is US$2 billion waiting for Guyana, courtesy Exim USA. It seems that by some sleight of hand, the late, great Queen Elizabeth II (I mean it) handed over the instruments of Guyana’s right to self-determination to America’s John F. Kennedy first, and Guyana’s instruments of Independence to Lyndon Johnson. Donald Trump, a Nero and Caligula rolled into one, took Independence and self-determination from David Granger and gave it to Bharrat Jagdeo. Last, Joe Biden, a shaky apparition of late, reminded both presidents Ali and Jagdeo, through Anthony Blinken who is the boss.
After all the shilly-shallying about sanctity of contract, this is the imperative: the Stabroek Block is American territory, and we didn’t know it, can’t do anything about it. So is our government, our opposition, our parliament, and the rest of Guyana. Consider how our leaders make mincemeat of themselves.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
DECEPTION & CORRUPTION getting WORSE by the minute in GUYANA.
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