Column: EYEWITNESS

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Satisfaction…

…with oil contract!

Nobody could possibly confuse Raphael Trotman with Mick Jagger – or any other members of the Rolling Stones, for that matter! But even if they did – in some fevered state! – unlike the Stones who declared “I can’t get no satisfaction”, Trotman looking like the proverbial Cheshire cat, declared he – and his government – were “satisfied” with the oil contract he “renegotiated” with ExxonMobil!!

Of course, he’s satisfied!! And why not? He not only got an all-expense-paid vacation with his wife-to-be – but God knows what other benefits!! As an example, when oil was discovered and produced in Equatorial Guinea by a number of US oil companies at the beginning of the decade, some US$700m millions were deposited in secret banks accounts of Guinean government officials, plus their children educational expenses, houses, land, etc – all being paid by the said oil companies.

Another dodge to look out for – and used in Guinea – was to fund companies that service the oil industry but secretly owned by government officials. We’ll just have to look out as to who in the government will be rolling in dough, won’t we?  But then, we did hear about 65 policemen – earning less than $60,000/monthly – who were pulled in to remove tints from their cars that cost at least $2million! And no one thought to ask them where they got the money from!!

Your Eyewitness was also more than a bit taken aback when Trotman very coyly allowed as to how even “though he is a Harvard Law School-trained negotiator” he didn’t renegotiate the contract all on his own!! Knowing senility could strike without warning, and your Eyewitness might be confused, he rechecked Trotman’s bio-details on the Ministry of Natural Resources’ web site. And there it was: Trotman had obtained a “Post-Graduate Certificate in Mediation from the Harvard Law School”.

And even though this was just a five-day course, it was on “MEDIATION”, NOT “NEGOTIATION” offered by the Harvard Mediation Programme! “Mediation”, of course, has to do with “alternate dispute resolution” between parties who don’t want to go to court! While “negotiation” has to do with hard bargaining to make deals where you don’t give away your store (or oil wealth!!). Just in case you wondered, Harvard Law does have a “Harvard Negotiation Institute” which offers another 5-day course, called the “Secrets of Successful Dealmaking”.

But even if Trotman had taken this five-day course, can you believe he should be in charge of negotiating a contract with lawyers who’d (successfully) taken on the entire US Justice Department??

These lawyers from Exxon can chew up and spit out a hick-lawyer like Trotman – like he was sunflowers seeds!!

…on Ring Bang?

It would seem that Trotman might have applied about the philosophy of “Ring Bang” music when he dealy with “Ring Fencing” in the oil contract. We’ve been hearing about “Ring Bang” music for decades now – put out by Eddie Grant. Your Eyewitness isn’t that knowledgeable about the genre…but being a patriotic Guyanese he remembers Ring Bang isn’t just music but part of a philosophy for Guyana.

Your Eyewitness remembers when Eddie insisted Ring Bang philosophy demanded we change our National Pledge because that proposed we should “love our fellow citizens” but said nothing about “loving ourselves”. Now “Ring Fencing” is a term in the oil industry which says an oil company can’t apply exploration expenses from one field to another field so as to reduce the profits – which would have to be shared with the country. In this case, Guyana.

So, Trotman, loving himself in accordance with Ring Bang philosophy, did not insist on Ring Fencing in the oil contract he renegotiated!!

Wonder how much his self-love delivered!

…and Chutney

Nermal “Massive” Gosein isn’t satisfied with the powers-that-be in the Chutney industry of TT. Imagine they had the nerve to ban his song, “Rowley Mudda Count” for the Chutney Competition!

Calypsonian Chalkdust (and your Eyewitness) agrees with him. Says it’s censorship!!

 

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