Kaieteur News – “It would be most helpful for me to know what went on with the oil contract between Exxon and Guyana, the substance behind the signing of it. What do you have to tell me about it?” Approximately seven years ago, I asked that question bluntly of the then Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael G. C. Trotman. Much hinged on his answer, for if I sensed that there was hedging, or vacillating, or any disingenuousness, on his part, it most likely would have been the last time we shared space together, or said another word to each other.
We were sitting in close conversational proximity; just the two of us. My eyes were locked into his, and studied him closely; his body language, for hesitation, for any telltale signs of creativity, possible falsity, anything that remotely resembled the slippery, some peculiar human fantasy. Former Minister Trotman’s response to my question came straight, strong, and swift: “I did not take a cent from Exxon, nor did Exxon offer me anything.”
Thanks were uttered for the clean lines, clarity, and firmness and finality of his answer. I believed him then; that still stands today. I shared my thoughts about neighbouring threat(s) and how vulnerable those left Guyana, as was placed in the public domain before, from my assessment of what I called “premium paid in blood.” Now he has written this book “From Destiny to Prosperity” which I knew was in the making. It is good that he did. The thought has long been present that I should do the same with the Guyana Gold Board, with much of its substances now lodged overseas. These things need sunlight.
Interestingly, Raphael Trotman (the lawyer) is of the view that the contract can be renegotiated. Nothing more is said from this corner. Just as interestingly, Mr. Trotman, the signatory for the Guyanese people, and on whose head has been showered meteors and UFOs and all manner of visceral revilements, speaks towards ‘geopolitical and geostrategic’ realities that his Coalition APNU+AFC faced. What he stopped short of saying was how overwhelming those could be for a dot on the map like Guyana. President Ali said it the sweetest when faced with the bitterest of cups: “superpower.” Though His Excellency did not know it, that descriptive was more than about Exxon. It was who is behind Exxon, no poke, no Lilliputian, itself. There is America.
It was why Mike Pompeo came here; not for democracy or some dreadful elections fight between some silly people. Primitive and impassioned tribes; who the hell cares about them? Mr. Trotman’s thinking is repeated: ‘geopolitical and geostrategic.’ There is irresistible force embedded in both, what is existential for Guyana. Yes, he did touch upon the unspoken challenges that he and his political group encountered – the battering that both had to and still endure.
It explains so much about why the PPP Government runs for cover when the nation’s now proven oil wealth is the issue of inquiry. It reveals why President Ali is now tongued-tied and pointblank refuses to acknowledge properly the existence of this oil patrimony, in mortal fear of stumbling. It exposes why Vice President Jagdeo is so circular, so wavy, so topsy-turvy, so much in reverse gear, so heavily about anything but what is straight, when pressed for simple and clear answers and positions on this oil endowment.
In a sentence, the devils that the APNU_AFC Coalition had to deal with are the same ghoulish ones that live with the PPP Government of today, Excellency Ali and Vice President Jagdeo. I go out on the longest, slenderest and shakiest of limbs today; they took nothing, made no self-serving bargains. They sold nothing. But they still have to face demons that cripple, monsters that overwhelm and maim the people of Guyana, and Guyana’s prospects. What author Trotman penned is what highlights why the man with all the power, Bharrat Jagdeo, is so impotent since 2020. He may mean well, but he cowers before geopolitical and geostrategic imperatives, fears the political implications of raising his hand and voice.
Mr. Norton hovers, and as much as he is undermined, and registers less than expected, the Americans recognize him, and feature him and his group in their calculations.
It is hoped that Guyanese understand a little better why I am so frank, so fulsome, and so fierce in my views about the handiworks of Her Excellency, Sarah Ann Lynch, and Exxon Country Head Alistair Routledge. Their verbal sorceries are seen through, their maternalism and paternalism discerned for the cheapness and insulting nature of both, and the ravages wreaked on a poor, backward nation under democracy and contract sanctity. The Ambassador and her people should know why I turned my back on that invitation to break bread. A few are not fooled, nor make themselves fools for the company of those who exploit and eviscerate all Guyanese, including those turned into traitors.
From Raphael Trotman’s comments, it is clear that the PNC couldn’t compete and come out ahead. It is just as clear that the PPP stares at a repeat and similar defeat. This suits the departing and incoming ambassadors just fine. If and when and ever Guyanese are together, it could be a different story. American doesn’t want that, the PPP has no interest in that, and the PNC is still to make up its mind about where it stands with any such thought. Thanks, Mr. Raphael Trotman for the tome.
(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.)
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