Nov 14, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – Where expenses were involved, ExxonMobil Guyana Ltd (EMGL) threw more than the kitchen sink at Guyana. Whatever stray cats and dogs that the company could find, it simply added them without a second thought to the American billions submitted for payment, and to be deducted from Guyana’s oil revenues. Anything and almost in any amount that EMGL opportunists could drum up and dump on Guyana under the cloak of bills, it was enthusiastic in doing so. This is what the audit team spearheaded by Ramdihal & Haynes Inc., has among its egregious findings, which cast a terrible pall over the company. It reflects poorly on the way it does business with Guyana. Trust has vanished with a partner of this caliber, little goodwill, given the levels to which the company lowered itself with those expenses charged to Guyana.
There should be meaningful audit sanctions for palpable expense abuse. We at this publication are all for audit sanctions strong enough to send the sharpest messages. This is because it is not the first time that this so-called American partner has tried to play games when expenses are involved. There is the Gopinath “Bobby” Gossai business from another audit, which still has more hidden mysteries than the revelations that have come to light. Regardless of the angle from which that is looked at, there is ExxonMobil as an active participant, and not for the better of Guyana’s collections from its oil. When these two instances are considered in and of themselves, it becomes clearer and clearer that EMGL is not a partner, but more of a schemer and self-enricher. It makes all the money that could be had right here, but this company’s greed is simply insatiable, it has to have more, and by any means, under any expense categorization. Former Guyana Ambassador, Dr. C. Kenrick Hunte said it best: “This dishonorable action signals the utter contempt that EMGL has for Guyana.”
The litany of dishonorable actions by EMGL is lengthy and shabby. Guyana is billed for leisure and liquor, as though those are vital to offshore oil operations in the Stabroek Block. Guyana is billed for exercise and other exciting events, such as holiday parties and fine dining in tony eating establishments, which somehow is made out by EMGL as having a relationship to exploring for and producing oil. Even more unpalatable and unimaginable, Guyana is billed by EMGL when the company spends handsome amounts to brainwash the citizens of this country about how good it is to them, and how much it has done for them. There should be more than sanctions for such excesses, what Guyanese call ‘eye-pass’. There ought to be jail time for those who concocted these expense schemes to continue the rip-off of this country in the US millions. Companies try something like this in the United States, and the consequences would fly fast and furious.
To his credit, Guyana’s oil chief, Vice President Bharat Jagdeo, is talking a good game: “I maintain my position that it would be illegal and I repeat that. The audits would have revealed that now, and as I have said before there should be consequences.” Any Guyanese who was harboring ideas that some tough sanctions were in the making had to swallow their hopes. For in the next breath, this is what Jagdeo had to say: “If you did unauthorized work, you don’t go to jail according to PSA it just doesn’t form part of the cost bank.” If that was not lame, an invitation to future robberies, then nothing is.
Characteristically, Jagdeo was giving EMGL a free pass. He is not going anywhere near anything that has to do with sanctions for expense abuse. This is the leader who has accumulated a record of shrillness and sharpness when locals get in his way, but is the complete opposite in demeanor and attitude when foreigners are involved. It is either he suffers from some unknown inferiority complex, or he is afraid. What could be afraid of in the instance of EMGL, only he would know. Now EMGL is off the hook for its abuses, and is free to come up with slicker ways to skin Guyana alive through future expenses submitted.
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