The refusal to renegotiate Guyana’s Oil Contract with Exxon seems hinged on the deciders being incapable of distinguishing between Certainty and Certitude…
…that nuanced difference between basing action on fact as in certainty… versus faith as in certitude…
…a useful distinction that tells us how well those elected to protect and promote national interest are doing.
When the Caucasian columnist of the New York Times, Clifford Krauss, gave a graphic description of the realities of Guyana’s social landscape in the age of oil, there was a gnashing teeth amongst Guyanese intelligentsia… and some not so much… who came out in indignation because of his race and nationality, feeling especially bruised because he was so right about the parallel he drew to Guyana and its backwardness; juxtaposing a country, 52 years post colonization with a lifestyle of electrical blackouts, a lack of running water, all mocking the monikers ‘land of many waters’ and ‘oh beautiful Guyana’ because loyalty demands that voters behave like worshipful invertebrates to preserve an ideology that benefits Party more than country, where anything short of saying the Party and it’s leader is right is treason…
…well according to the lambasting we receive from vengeful worshippers boasting of their card- carrying status with a pathetic kind of fealty that’s only cringeworthy.
Micah Maidenburg and Manuela Andreoni made the same observations in their June 19 2018 observation ‘Guyana and Oil’ in Foreign Policy Magazine. They, too, were vilified for reporting with candor, the diminutive stature of Guyana’s socio political platform, highlighting the gushing quotes from the Ministers of Finance and Natural Resources delivered with the unworldly joy of the gullible.
It is this servile acquiescence and genuflection at political altars by the inculcated that has elevated the politicians who ran as empathetic humans to political demi gods, ignoring their failures with limp critiques, as if for their own penance- apologizing for the administrative lack of these leaders who are unapologetically erring but cling to a false sense of dignity; refusing to cry for help as they stumble and with the people’s burden.
The refusal more than failure of Granger to review the country’s oil contract with Exxon raises an abundance of questions, especially when one considers Exxon, in its array of financial splendor; noting that were it a country, its economy would be multiple times that of Guyana’s, that it is the world’s largest oil producer and amongst the reasons it can make this claim is because of its boast of the billions of barrels of Guyana oil that it will add to its reserves…
“If you look at our portfolio, we have mega projects, big developments, in Guyana, Brazil, Mozambique,” says a Sara Ortwein as she promotes the heft of Exxon. “Those are important.
And Darren Woods, current CEO of Exxon, is saluted by Bloomberg for having “sought to arrest the decline in reserves by signing off on a flurry of acquisitions and by extending his predecessor’s (Rex Tillerson) push into Guyana, where the company has, thus far, discovered 3.2 billion barrels.
Theirs is a strategy of leverage and politics. Exxon has catapulted to the world’s largest oil producer in the short span of nineteen years because it repositioned its sites onto third world resource rich countries, whose leaders they see as unsophisticated investors with short term immediate needs and capacity for a very long term payment plan and at compound interest.
There are a couple of things that should be borne in mind at this point.
Exxon is the largest American oil and gas company based on its market value – the cost per Exxon share. Exxon pays billions in taxes to the US Internal Revenue Service, as much as 18 billion in 2014 when the price of oil was higher. Exxon plans to invest 50 billion in the US over the next 5 years which, says CEO Darren Woods, will “These positive developments will mean more jobs and economic expansion across the United States in a myriad of industries.”
So, Exxon is an especially unique asset for the USA which tends to protect such assets with its politics.
It’s a pretty open secret that these organizations woo government by donation as generously as is legally allowed and key political officials like, say a Secretary of State, as in a Rex Tillerson and America’s Ambassador to Guyana like say, a Perry Hollaway, know that relations between the countries start with US politics taking center stage when liaising with say, Guyana’s Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge, who subtly reminded that he should never forget what role this US company, that is loyal to US politics, is playing in the extraction of cash- poor Guyana’s natural resources.
Maybe Exxon uses its experience in Chad as its baseline to deal with resource rich ‘third world’ countries. Chad found oil through a strategic endeavor between World Bank, Exxon Mobil and the Chadian government which had a border conflict with Sudan. The World Bank and Exxon paid Chad a bonus that had strict directives to be spent for national development. President Deby violated the agreement and spent 4.5 million on weapons to fight rebels that were sympathetic to Sudan. The World Bank and Exxon said he was violating the agreement he said they could take their agreement and leave Chad so the US and Exxon softened and gave Deby permission to spend as needed to fight the rebels because by then, the US had recruited Chad to help fight its war against terrorism.
The point here is to illustrate the juxtaposition between politics and Exxon as we contemplate why, in spite of educated advice, Guyana’s leadership is refusing to renegotiate the terms of the Exxon Contract, which is its obligation as the elected representative of the people.
One expert has shown and repeatedly how the current terms of the contract gifts Exxon USD 880 million or GYD176 billion. And this is from the Liza Phase 1 project only…meaning they stand to be gifted billions more if the contract is sat upon by this Coalition that seems to be cowering behind some subtle inference from the US Government and Exxon.
That a government can refuse to renegotiate a contract that will cost the people billions of dollars which could potentially improve lives that are now recorded at third lowest on the poverty chain in the hemisphere, is the kind of dereliction that is flaunted in dictatorships – not that we would ever want to assert that Guyana is one of those, when the current Government really ran on Democracy, a good life for all Guyanese… and we tear up now when we replay the acceptance speech of the President who said he will be a President for all people…..to a collective Amen.
Exploration and mining of the nation’s natural resources, through the Baishan Lin’s, Vaitarna’s, Oleg Deripaska’s and the garden variety of Russian, or maybe Ukrainian diamond seekers and Chinese miners for whatever minerals lie in Guyana’s earth, have generated riches only for the ruling class over the past twenty five years, when we note that, despite the extraction of resources, poverty in every dimension remains systemically prevalent.
The wholesale expropriation of resources and misappropriation of their revenues may have been the driving force behind the civic outcry for the release of the Exxon contract and that was a good thing because it showed that the Government is accepting an Exxon deal that is too lucrative and one-sidedly beneficial to not ask more questions.
The US, we would think, should not be wielding commercial and political power at the same time, especially when it looks like the political brandishing is to improve the commercial manipulation.
Why should we bother to reply to Kautsky, asked Lenin. He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There is no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautsky is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything…the Proletarian Revolution…
It’s all about perception, is the message.
Say it and it shall be so.
So they, the Coalition Government, are announcing that the contract is the best that could be had …with the expectation, the anticipation, that the people will understand everything…
But the people have an aversion to the Leninist approach, Elected Coalition Leaders, and will ask until they are answered and appropriately.