Kaieteur News – There was Teflon Ron, former US President Ronald Reagan, to whom nothing stuck. Not Iran Contra, not early senility while in office, not breaking US law. Then there was Teflon Don, as in feared mafia boss, John Gotti, and one who beat every rap thrown at him, until Sammy “the Bull” Gravano sang like a canary, and off the Teflon Don went up the creek.
Here in Guyana, citizens (at least half of them) have their own beloved Teflon man, and it is Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, the nation’s Commander in Chief of Oil. Dr. Jagdeo is more of an asbestos man than a Teflon one: he endures any degree of searing heat. Mr. Combustion, he is. But it is not what sticks to him, but what he sticks upon others. A good start would be made by focusing on a couple of his sordid failures. Bear in mind, the Vice President’s modus operandi that it is always somebody else’s duty, somebody else’s mistake.
Remember insurance protection, and how he danced better than the unbeatable combination of MC Hammer and Goya Singh. Brother Jagdeo was going along lickety-split in his unique jagged-edged way, until the incandescent heat got to him, and became too much to bear. So what did the big man do? He lateraled the responsibility for insurance to Guyana’s hapless, impotent Environmental Protection Agency. The wily oil commissar knew that there was nobody there who would dare to pushback. This is how he wiggles out of tight spots and sticks it to others.
Of course, all the weaknesses and ills of the 2106 Exxon oil contract have the perfect whipping post: the PNC. A better, truer owner could not be found to paste any condemnation for that foul contract perversity. From his own lips, the good doctor Jagdeo promised to purify it, and make Guyanese proud. When the pressure built on the VP to do something he scrounged around for any ally he could find, and there was the President. We are honorable people, said the other big man.
Now there is a heresy, a real rank one, where the PPP has the gall to speak of honourable, honouring, and honour. But as a cover, it worked, the job done: Bharrat Jagdeo ducked his way into another day by leaving the contract untouched. A little reality check should help. All the manifesto’s commitments could be delivered, and if Vice Presidential oil promises made are unfulfilled, then the rest is for zilch. Yes, oil is today that monumentally important to Guyana. He is indebted to President Ali for bailing him out with “sanctity of contract” which he himself now suddenly cherishes. Better contract management is the oilman’s new guiding star.
When ‘better contract management’ can relinquish so many billions, without so much as a whimper, to Exxon from past oil projects not properly audited, or not audited at all, then it is the kind of contract management never seen before, one that is the product of a circus performer. Oh, those audit lapses have their own scapegoats. Lack of capacity necessitating capacity building has a nice ring. Since there is a clear lack of capacity not just in quality auditing, then even the limited insights of the helplessly dumb would have cautioned: slow down, hold off, space out approval of oil projects. But Bharrat Jagdeo is brighter than all Guyana put together; look how rapturously delirious he makes Exxon’s people. When the heats, such as they are, come from Guyanese, the asbestos Vice President shrugs them off, without any scars. The smell of smoke does engulf him, anyway, and it is not going away.
For now, there is this Miss Universe of what is perverse from the PPP and the VP. It is about the small matter of US$214 million. It is a slimy, sleazy, slippery number, and it doesn’t seem to have any owner, relative to who played games with it. By cutting it down to nothing. By cutting their own deal. By cutting Exxon into the action. A real ‘who dun it’, is this one. But true to form, and history, Dr. Jagdeo had his remedy ready: unauthorized actions by ministry personnel. Is somebody kidding me? Somebody, and it could only be brother Jagdeo, ‘tek Guyanese for damm fools’, complete idiots. This should be a hanging offence. Now an investigation buys time, offers camouflage. It is called plausible deniability.
Reports are that the PPP blogger mob has developed laryngitis and carpal tunnel syndrome: they can’t speak, they can’t write. They want this mortal peril, this seemingly patented repugnance hovering over the PPP to disappear. The faster the better, so all are silent, hoping the US$214 million audit treachery disappears like it never happened, and with medicine man Dr. J separated from it. Somebody at Natural Resources may be collecting to keep quiet.
Bottom line: ‘dis one ain’t stickin’ to nobody. Because nobody would have the temerity, the audacity, the celebrity, and the stupidity to pull such a caper of epic proportions. By my calculation, this US$214 million snafu is just the iceberg’s first flake. Over to Vice President Jagdeo: the fire burning, and the water hot. What is it that was put in Exxon’s pot?
(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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