An unconscionable contract can never be final (Pt 2)

first_imgDear Editor,The petroleum contract is an absolute disgrace, even the dead, the deaf, the dumb and the mute can agree symbolically on this. For our politicians to behave as if they have the authority to tie and chain the masses of Guyanese people to agreements of extreme exploitation, oppression, abuse and humiliation is very cruel and void of any virtue. As long as this contract remains in force, we will be seen as the idiots of the Caribbean, and the world; it is a perpetual shaming of Guyanese alive and dead.In my formative years, I grew up in a Guyana and West Indie, where we were Kings of world cricket, with heroes from Guyana such as Rohan Kanhai, Lance Gibbs, Clive Lloyd, Steve Camacho, Roy Fredricks, Alvin Kallicharran, Colin Croft and Faoud Bacchus. From further afield, we had Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Lawrence Rowe, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Curtly Ambrose and Joel Garner, though not from Guyana, they all represented Guyana and the West Indies, against the rest of the world with such glory. These men imbued in us a sense of invincibility.This horrible and revolting petroleum agreement has conjured images of blind, bespectacled ants signing off on contracts with global corporations, and thereby, engendering more offensive and ridiculous contracts, which are all very disadvantageous to Guyana. This is no time for sophistry, doublespeak, party politics, showmanship or rhetoric. The contract is an abomination and a heavy millstone on the Guyanese people, future descendants and our ancestors: from the native Americans, enslaved Africans, and indentured labourers to those who now live off the sweat and bloody sacrifices they made for their families; and our family. This obnoxious, objectionable and invasive petroleum agreement starts and ends with Exxon’s Esso. Guyanese must not be ensnared by Exxon and our politicians who seem to be compromised in Exxon’s tentacles; must be made to speak and act for the Guyanese people. Once we have the agreement renegotiated with Exxon; the other oil exploration companies will follow suit.According to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris in December 2015 and the resulting conference of the parties pronouncement in February 2016, re: Of the 23 largest US oil and gas exploration and production companies Exxon holds almost a third of total reserves of this group and around 41 per cent of the combined market capitalisation. The reserves of Exxon certainly now exceed one-third of the total reserves of the group – primarily because of the additional oil finds in Guyana during 2016, 2017 and 2018. Exxon is the giant anaconda; the virtual nation state that our Government needs to ask for penitence.The egregious pronouncement from our Government does not end on the fake finality of the Exxon agreement; by some waffling of unimaginable arrogance, as detailed in Kaieteur News dated February 24, 2018; we have this headline “Worry about information overload leads Government to phase transparency”; the article includes the following statement from Minister Harmon, speaking on behalf of the Government “There must be a time framework. We cannot release everything at one time. I suppose in the fullness of time those documents will be released. It is a question of what is convenient because sometimes you release everything and you just flood people with information that you almost suffer from information overload.“But I believe you can understand that these contracts as the President and the Minister of Natural Resources said, they will be released eventually.”Phased release! Is the Government saying that Guyanese are such dullards that we can’t analyse five to 10 oil contracts concurrently? How disrespectful; what effrontery to string together senseless mazes of words in a naïve attempt to dupe the Guyanese people; in paraphrasing Schopenhauer.It is infinitely more logical to have all the oil and gas contracts made immediately available to the Guyanese people for the much-needed comprehensive comparative analysis. It will make our overture to Exxon for contract renegotiation that much more informed, practicable and achievable. Sense can only be made of this ridiculous phased release approach, if the intent is not to renegotiate the contract with Exxon. Our politicians are intelligent people and this segway to contract entrapment must be rejected. We have struggled too long; we Guyanese were seen and treated as the pariahs of the Caribbean, rejected at every port with or without our rice bags, some gave up everything in Guyana to go and labour in North America, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean, we have lost too many lives along the way, to now reach the summit of our El Dorado that our founder leaders envisioned for us; and to just sign away a significant majority our new found wealth. We must renegotiate the agreement/s that robs the Guyanese people, and in addition, places double locks on the mental chains that trap us; then we are thrown overboard enchained, when our Government shamelessly agrees to pay the contractor over US$460 million to have our oil resources plundered.With or without Esso finding oil in Guyana, we will always have Guyanese on the margins, who have relative power and wealth from both political parties, including private businessmen. The wealth from the oil find should be invested generously across our small population: amongst our youths, public servants, Private Sector workers and old age pensioners.I ask any Government official: What difference does it make, whether you have US$10 million or US$100 million? The virtue and purpose of living is not to make a few dollars more. Certainly, leaving a positive legacy to Guyanese is worth much, much more. Walter Rodney died almost 38 years ago, and everyday his good works are referenced. It is not how long you live or the wealth you have acquired; what matters is how as a citizen and servant leader you have uplifted your people.To all political parties and Private Sector leaders: President David Granger; Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Private Sector leader Eddie Boyer; this petroleum agreement is literally burying the hopes and aspirations of Guyanese and their children. Immediately seek renegotiation of the petroleum agreement to obtain a 10 per cent royalty; remove the baseless US$460 million invoice from the contract with Esso and company; immediately table all oil contracts and endeavour to make the contracts fair to Guyanese. President Granger this is far and away worse than bones jammed in our throats.Sincerely,Nigel Hindslast_img

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