EYEWITNESS: Baring it all?…

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…not on oil!

A funny thing happened to the APNU/AFC coalition on the way to power: they’ve contracted selective amnesia. When they were in the Opposition they went at the PPP hammer and tongs about not releasing contract details on Amaila Falls Hydro, Marriott and a host of other projects. “These are funded by the people of Guyana!!!” they thundered. “And the people deserve to know what their money’s being spent on! Y’all thiefin’ and siphoning off hundreds of billions into your pockets!!”

But today, with Exxon sitting on three billion barrels of oil (and counting) – worth conservatively US$200,000,000,000 or GY$40,000,000,000,000 (that’s GY$40 trillion, thank you!) Trotman, the Natural Resource Minister, insists the people of Guyana can’t be given the details of the contract with Exxon!! Why? Well, he’s “hired experts” and they’ve advised his lips must remain zipped. Never mind that the most visible expert, advising the President on oil, one Dr Jan Mangal, says the contract should be released!!

Pointing to the miserable and shameful experience of West Africa with oil, Dr Mangal insists “transparency” must be the mantra when natural resources – property of the populace – are involved. But even as Dr Mangal spoke, Trotman raised a plethora of incredible (and incredulous!) further reasons that he claimed his “experts” (other than Dr Mangal?) have offered for holding out on the people:

“…there are a number of extenuating and external issues which are being attended to, some of them have foreign affairs implications, some of them have sovereignty implications, some have national security implications.” Now any of you, dear readers who’ve got children would know, when they come off with so many glib but non-specifics reasons why they did something wrong – they’re covering up their real reason and lying through their teeth! And so is Trotman!

Let’s pick sense from nonsense. Trotman says the contract he “renegotiated” with Exxon to raise our royalty from one per cent to two per cent (sic!!) remained essentially” the one signed by the PPP in 1999. Well, if that is so, and that contract was made public, what’s the harm doing so now? Trotman says anyone could also “connect the dots” and figure out the details of the contract.

Well whoever or whatever is going to harm our “foreign affairs, sovereignty and national security interests” can also connect the dots, can’t they? So, who’s kidding whom?? If we go by what Dr Mangal alluded to – the experience of West Africa – the refusal to come clean on the details of contracts with the International Oil Operators was for one reason: depositing the revenues into Government officials’ bank accounts, and not into the national Treasury.
So Trotman should stop blowing smoke you know where!

…on “Capture land!

Some in Guyana have been arguing about who’s land we’re living on. Here’s an answer from Chronnic – the young Reggae Singer soon to visit our dear Mudland, in his song, “Capture Land”.
“Yuh tink me nuh memba King Ferdinand
And teifing Columbus have a Golden plan
Dem make a wrong turn and end up in the Caribbean
One rass genocide kill nuff Indian
Lord Fi turn paradise in a plantation…
We nah stay pon di land weh dem capture
A me say Africa fi all true rasta…
Carry we go home…
Los Angeles dat a capture land
And New York City dat a capture land
East some a di place weh you wah go live sweet
A teifing land there’s no title fi it
And some a these place weh you wah go live nice
A tief dem tief it in the name of Christ
Spanish Town dat a capture land
The whole a Kingston dat a capture land
Remember Portland dat a capture land
And all down a Trinidad dat a capture land
Barbados dat a capture land
Tell dem Bermuda dat a capture land
And tell Colombia dat a capture land
All round a Cuba dat a capture land
(And Guyana na capture land?)

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