EYEWITNESS: Confusion…

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…in oil

President Granger just announced – via the Official Gazette-to the surprise of all and sundry, he’ll be personally in charge of all matters relating to oil and gas. This portfolio, of course, will be added to Security, which he clearly never passed on to the hapless Khemraj Ramjattan.

His APNU/AFC government slid into government the same week Exxon announced their “world class” oil find off our coast. (Coincidence?) And from then on, it’s been nothing but confusion and chaos in the Government’s dealing with the inchoate oil sector.

His latest move does nothing to persuade anyone anything’s changed. It was not for nothing that the oil companies have dubbed us a “frontier” state when it comes to the “black gold”. Our government just didn’t know its ass from its elbow about oil – and refused to accept expert advice.

It took more than a year for the President to hire an a “Petroleum Advisor” – Jan Mangal – by which time Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman had already declared himself “fit and proper” to go up to Texas where he negotiated a production contract with the lawyers of the biggest oil company on Earth!! He, of course, returned properly fleeced since those Texans know a sheep when they see one! They’re mostly used to longhorns and must’ve been tickled pink to take Trotman to the cleaners.

Trouble is, it wasn’t just Trotman who was fleeced, but all Guyana – including generations to come. Trotman came back with a US$18million bonus – when Brazil had recently received one for US$700M for a smaller field!! He also asked for 2% royalty when the going rate is around 12% and agreed to pay US$640M in exploration expenses up front!

By the time the portfolio was taken away from him, and transferred to the Ministry of the Presidency (MotP), you’d have thought the President would’ve seen the need for oil experts, wouldn’t you? Well, by then President Granger had, however, decided not to renew the services of his Petroleum Advisor.

The latter insisted on saying what he thought best for the country based on his training and experience! How dare he??!!

The fella had the temerity to say the government was rather hopeless not to spend on experts now, who could save the government billions in the future. The President proceeded to create a “Department of Energy” in the MotP – to which he appointed a fella with absolutely no background in energy excepting peripherally to his expertise in Environmentalism!! He also had the DOE fall organisationally under the Minister of State in the MotP – which he’s now rescinded.

So as far as oil is concerned, we still have the blind leading the sheep to be fleeced!!

…on the Indian Arrival Monument?

Indian PM Narendra Modi, was supposed to visit in early December and he was going to unveil the “Indian Arrival Monument” which was supposed to have been erected at Parmyra, opposite the Berbice Bridge. He called off the visit and your Eyewitness wonders if it has to do with the confusion over installing a simple bronze tableaux of 6 figures on a concrete base.

The Indian government agreed back in 2013 to fund the cost of the casting of the bronze figures from a model by Guyanese sculptors. The government changed in 2015 and the statues arrived in January 2016 during the PNC-led regime that has been firmly typified -even by then- with mass confusion. For months no one knew the statues had arrived and when this secret was finally revealed, the $42M contract to build the base was awarded by September to a Linden Contractor. But by May 2017 it came tumbling down like the walls of Jericho.

The Indian government decided to design and pay for a replacement base – which is still in limbo.
As is Modi’s trip!!

…on gas

In the wake of gas escaping while drilling for water in Diamond, houses nearby have suffered from cracked walls, creaky houses and foul gas.
Your Eyewitness thinks it’s poltergeists from another dimension!

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