Our major political parties have failed us in relation to the indefensible Exxon deal

Dear Editor,

2019 has been an unforgettable political year for Guyana, if only for the indelible and extreme breaches of our Constitution and Court Rulings following the No Confidence Vote and the grand finale confession coming three years after the signing of a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), when the APNU+AFC administration represented by Minister Raphael Trotman, casually stated that “I would be the first to admit that we should have done far better than we have done.” Better late than never one contemplates. Now if only we could turn back time and have a new PSA that fills the Guyanese economy with Billions of United States Dollars instead of the indefensible PSA.

The undoubted person of the year for 2018 was Charrandass Persaud, who voted the APNU+AFC administration into Caretaker status, with his across-the-floor support of the No Confidence Motion.

The initial acknowledgment of APNU+AFC that the No Confidence Vote required elections by March 21, 2019 didn’t last long. The APNU+AFC advocates for adherence to the Constitution under President Donald Ramotar’s administration, became the violators of the Constitution using the most illogical and confounding arguments that to this day, have facts and logic tottering and reeling from relentless attack of fake math, claims of entitlement to a full term and just plain executive lawlessness.

The Constitution was subjugated, court orders were generally ignored, as the Executive Branch of government took full supremacy over the Constitution and the Courts.

We end 2019 with the PPP/C and APNU+AFC (PNCR) standing or bending in solidarity as they commit to not renegotiate or review the oiliest of oil contracts between Exxon’s subsidiary, Hess Inc. and  CNOOC/Nexen with the empowered hand and the Government of Guyana with the submissive hand.

It seems to me that we have at the highest levels of government, the unlimited imagination and arrogance to defy the Constitution of Guyana; then we go prostrate when dealing with Exxon and gift billions of United States Dollars away from the long-suffering Guyanese people.

Bad man style internally for political power, status and entitlements and stultifying cowardice when dealing with Exxon.

With our political leaders virtually knighting Darren Woods, Exxon’s CEO, to have supreme control over the six billion plus barrels of oil in offshore Guyana, it is appropriate to have Guyana’s Political and Corporate overlord be gifted with the title Guyana’s Person of the Year for 2019. Massive, immeasurable and humongous giveaways and concessions to Exxon and its partner, while Guyanese receive doughnut middle verbally coated in sugar.

As we quibble over first and second lift, waffle over direct oil sales and our unpreparedness for first oil, the deplorable, stark and the unprecedented terms of the Production Sharing Agreements, the aptly named Mr. Woods is, I’m sure quite enamoured to have united the two largest political parties in Guyana to embrace the PSA, a unity that benefits Exxon and throws Guyanese under the proverbial bus.

The 36% of Guyanese living in poverty, the 7,000 sugar workers thrown off their jobs are not material factors to our elite politicians, as the play for power, status, entitlements and wealth for whoever governs, take precedence over improving the quality of life for the Guyanese people.

Yet Charrandass was called a Judas, while Exxon is hero worshipped in unison by the utterances from APNU+AFC and PPP/C. Yet Charrandass was called an interloper, while Exxon and company rushes to monetize their cash cow in Guyana.

The courageous vote of Charrandass Persaud on that December night in 2018 revealed how having power and the prospects of gaining power is primarily not about providing for the welfare of the people, but more about the political hierarchy staying in power or gaining power by any means necessary.

The billions of United States Dollars that have been denied the Guyanese people with the most lopsided PSA is best described by slicing the words of author Charles Dickens: “It was the worst of times…, it was the age of foolishness…, it was the epoch of incredulity…, it was the season of darkness…, it was the winter of despair.”

Indeed we have reached the breaking point of reason, since using words like pre-contract costs, royalties, renegotiate, review, ring-fencing, local content, stabilization clause and signing bonus in the context of the Guyana Government’s PSA with Exxon’s subsidiary, Hess and CNOOC/Nexen are being described as unpatriotic.

Whether it’s the response to the No Confidence Vote by the governing party or the expressed intent not to have the PSA with Exxon’s subsidiary and its partners renegotiated or reviewed, our major political parties have failed us. The two large political parties captured or captive since 1955, with substantial blocks of support from within ethnic demographics seem to embrace this retrograde form of governance in a continuous and interdependent manner.

David de Caires, attorney, founder and editor in chief of Stabroek News had often noted the symbiotic nature of the PPP and PNC in the 1990s and 2000s; this symbiotic relationship has for the most part resulted in the political hierarchy prospering while the Guyanese people are tragically disadvantaged.

The state of our plight and/or plunder is best expressed as a self-licking ice cream cone that licks to sustain a divisive system.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Hinds