Ever since the PNC and its hot-shot “negotiator” Raphael Trotman gave away our family jewels stored under the Atlantic back in 2015 – a crummy 2% royalty and 12.5% profit on oil produced – we’ve been hearing about “Local Content” to give us a fair share of what is a depleting resource. That is, like all the gold that’s been mined since the 1890s from our interior, what’ll remain here will be the holes in the ground – only now under the Ocean!
So, what’s this “Local Content”? Well, to strip it down to its bare bones, it should mean that “we, the people of Guyana”, should get a piece of the action so as to ensure that more money remains here to help develop our country. For instance, the PNC’s oil contract ensures that 85.5% of the oil revenues end up in the countries where the oil companies call “home” – the US and China from the Stabroek block. As other blocks come into play, the bulk of the money will go to Britain, France, Israel and Canada etc. NOT Guyana!
However, other countries, like next door Suriname, for instance, formed their own state-owned oil companies and went into partnership with the foreign oil companies. So, right off the bat, they get their share of the overall revenues that come off the top as “expenses” – plus a share of profits and royalties. But that’s all oil under the (FPSO) bridge now, ain’t it? So back to the Local Content Policy that’s supposed to adjust the valve and divert more revenues our way.
How did other countries do it? Well, for one, as your Eyewitness indicated yesterday, we should legislate that EVERY company that registers locally in Guyana to SERVICE the oil industry allocates at least 10% of its share to local companies. That won’t only ensure that more revenues remain in Guyana, but that the management and other skills and networking from the foreign companies would get transferred to locals. The arrangement should be such that, gradually, management of the local companies should be totally Guyanese.
We’ll therefore get the training to perform at world class standards, and not just to the incestuous and stultifying mom-and-pop mentality that presently prevails. Unless this is done, we’ll remain as hewers of wood and drawers of water. On the other hand, if it IS done, even before the oil runs out in thirty years or so, we’ll have the managerial wherewithal to move into the global marketplace, like Malaysia and Singapore have done.
President Ali has now mandated that our Local Content Policy will extend to the entire economy. So, hopefully, we’ll now have shares in all foreign ventures. Including hotels?
Even without climate change – which has led to global warming, melting ice caps and rising seas – our coastland, from the beginning, has been a precarious proposition. Carved out of mangrove swamps by the Dutch, who built a “sea dam” to keep out the Atlantic at high tide, and a “back dam” to create a reservoir some miles inland, we survived through an amazingly intricate system of canals and “kokers” for draining our “mudland”.
Now we have to augment the system to weather the rising seas. The Government allocated $5.1billion to do precisely that at some of the identified weak spots on the sea wall/dam. Rather than the old fixed wall that’s been buckling under the monstrous waves (to absorb the force), a new “rip-rap” technique – using boulders and geotextile base – is being used to dissipate the wave-force.
One old (departed) engineer from the old days has criticised the quantum deployed to the battle. He forgets we only have so much engineering capacity.
Maybe he should return to Guyana?
…the COVID shot
That this COVID-19 isn’t going to roll over and play dead is revealed in the decision by South Africa to inform India it can’t use the 1million doses of AstraZeneca it received.
Doesn’t zap the SA mutant.