EYEWITNESS: Missing the boat…


…on oil local content

With every passing day, it’s becoming clearer that the hope of oil solving our underdeveloped woes is growing dimmer. It might soon be “out,” unless the citizens of this country take matters in their own hands. We can’t leave it to their fingers, come elections 2020 – since by then it will be all signed away by Trotman and Co.

First was his nonsensical mumblings that the PPP’s 1999 contract couldn’t be renegotiated – even though he’d announced earlier in the day about assembling a team of experts to do just that with Exxon! He was proven to be lying though his teeth when he boasted about DOUBLING the rate of royalties the company would be paying on gross oil revenues. Everyone perked up until they heard the quantum – 2%!!

Imagine boasting about 2% royalties when even the most corrupt regimes of Africa were getting 8-10%!! And with them, there’s the standing assumption that whatever was signed above the table was matched in private bank deposits under the table! The mind boggles at what transpired here! But what everyone missed was: if the 1999 contract couldn’t be ‘renegotiated,” how was the royalty rate changed? Exxon unilaterally decided to double it? What a crock!

Fact of the matter is the 1999 contract had time-lines built in for exploration, development etc. And by 2015, the contract for production had to be renegotiated in its ENTIRETY! Fact of the matter is, Trotman now admits we won’t be getting more than US$1/2 million annually for the first three years. Literally “peanuts,” since we can earn this much from our Rupununi peanuts!

As we’ve been saying, the vaunted 50% of profits Trotman “extracted” is pretty much 50% of peanuts, since Exxon is allowed 75% of the revenues for its development costs!
But in any case, we know that not a single country in Africa has developed on its oil revenues. Instead, their history has led to a new economic phrase — “resource curse”, in that the revenues ended up in private government officials’ pockets, while other industries wilted on the vine. But a decade or so ago, it was realised that all was not lost.

The oil producing country could still develop by insisting and enforcing “local content policies”.
In this way, forward and backward linkages could be formed in the country to create not only employment, but also in gestating industries that demanded technological and manufacturing knowhow that could be transmitted across other sectors.

But now we’re told by Trotman that his ‘experts” have advised there should be no penalising of oil companies if they flub our “local content regs”.

He’s depending on Scouts honour!! Wanker!!

…on government contracts

The latest flare up about medical insurance for cabinet ministers and senior government officials proves once again this Government has no intention of following the rules of transparency when conducting business. The essential point former Health Minister Ramsammy made was the need to advertise for bids so the widest possible responses could be elicited.

Are we to take the word of a Cabinet that approved a contract to Larry Singh for a non-existent pharma warehouse that it did better now? After the Durban Park boondoogle?
But rather than answering Ramsammy’s query, the spokesperson attacks his record. Sad; the PPP, which the PNC claimed were the most corrupt government on Planet Earth, are now their lodestar!! But what’s more alarming is the Cabinet seems to have no problem with soliciting and approving bids on a contract that involves them!! Isn’t there even the smallest hint in their minds of a possible conflict of interest?

But then, for this Government, it’s a matter of do what they say, and not what they do, isn’t it?

…on reparations

It’s clear ACDA wants reparations from the Guyana Government via the land CoI – even though it’s not within the latter’s remit.

But if reparations are given by Guyana, isn’t the claim on Britain extinguished? No double dipping!!


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