EYEWITNESS: Free enterprise…

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…and defending it

Appearing before the bi-partisan Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources, an Exxon management team, headed by its country director, became quite offended when asked by one PPP member to comment on perceptions that the oil giant might be financing local politicians. “Hogwash!” he exploded. Now you, dear readers, would know your Eyewitness is a die-hard free enterprise partisan.

So he doesn’t have much patience with those who thought the Exxon fella was rude!! Hey…do free enterprise proponents have to take brickbats and even flagellate themselves?? Lobbying politicians to look out for your company’s interest is as American as apple pie!! The old crass days of funding political campaigns are over and in fact, only a couple of months ago, an article in the ultra liberal New York Times, described how modern businesses “make friends and influence politicians”.

In fact, the article, “Charitable Giving by Corporations Is Also About Getting,” made the point that political contributions are neither politically correct nor legal and corporations has to find new ways to get their point across in a world where business is reflexively made to be the bad guys. Because they’re portrayed a cold, calculating cash registers, businesses from

Exxon to Bill Gates Microsoft have decided that donating to charities is the way to go!

In fact, both Gates and Exxon have spent billions to eradicate malaria in Africa. Mark Zukerberg has committed 90 per cent of Facebook’s profits to charitable causes. Politicians get votes by convincing voters they help improve their lives… and that they do this by taxing businesses to the max. But we know to our cost that these “tax and spend” governments – like the PNC’s – invariably direct their spending to their friends and cronies.

Do we have to be reminded about the bottom-house warehouse in Albouystown? The wood ants stadium at D’Urban Park? At least the corporate donations go directly into areas that have been identified as needing assistance to help ordinary folks. Now, of course, this is a form of lobbying and is meant to earn goodwill among a constituency that has been indoctrinated to see business as “robber barons” and worse. Nowadays, the approach is enshrined as “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR)!!”.

Now what is wrong with “ExxonMobil Foundation” donating US$10 million to Conservation International (CI) and UG to collaborate in initiatives such as the Guyana’s Green State Development Plan? It wasn’t done in secret, was it? CI now has to be even more vigilant about conservation matters where Exxon’s concerned so it doesn’t get panned!!

ExxonMobil’s country director, upon the advice of the Committee’s chair, withdrew the “hogwash” categorisation of his company’s CSR.

But our lawmakers have to get off their 19th premises!

…or trade war

Well, if politics is war by other means, then trade is definitely one of those “means”. It’s therefore not a coincidence that what was unleashed by Donald Trump against China is described as a “trade war”. The funny thing is, one of the lessons on waging war that’s come down the ages is, you try to minimise the number of fronts you have to fight on. If you’re trying to split the enemy forces, that’s one thing…but when you take on different armies you’re splitting your own!! Hitler fighting the Allies in the West and the Russians is the East was only the last in a long line of ignominious failures of this strategy.

So it’s rather curious that Trump hasn’t only taken on China with this tariffs…but also some of his strongest allies such as Canada and the EU! We all know he wants to impress his rust-belt and farming voters…but the counter tariffs will soon start pinching all America.

Why win the battle but lose the war?

…and “Nancy story”

Now if there ever was a “nancy story”, it’s the one by the City Constabulary and the private security council that they heard nothing during the FIVE HOURS it took to burn through the iron safe of Seepersaud Maraj at the Stabroek Market!!

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