…on the Govt and oil
The President invited three wise men from the north to advise him on the oil contract “Nassau” Trotman negotiated with Exxon. Yes, your Eyewitness knows wisdom used to come from the east – but its locus shifted after 1492, didn’t it? Now, one may object to “Sonny” Ramphal being so located…but seriously folks, wasn’t he invited because of his “northern” orientation?? If not, why not Chris Ram?
Now the first thing that popped into your Eyewitness’s mind was: for a man who swore to complete Burnham’s legacy, Granger’s sure putting a lot of faith in the words of Sir Paul Collier, a former Chief economist of the IMF, which Burnham kicked out back in his day!! Right off the bat, there’s advice that Collier offered at the media briefing”: “Don’t tear up the Exxon Contract”!! While even the last IMF team said it was one-sided!!
Now, this is most interesting, since no one’s EVER called for any contract to be ‘torn up’!! And Sir Paul also revealed that even the question of “renegotiation” wasn’t brought up in the tete-a-tete with the President and his Cabinet. So it seems the good knight was, through exaggeration, creating a strawman that he could easily knock down. But we know that’s a logical FALLACY, don’t we?
But more germanely, Sir Paul forgot to restate his famous corollaries to the “resource curse” phenomenon, of which he’s one of the foremost exponents over the last decade. There’re his warnings, according to one account: “whether emphasizing poor economic performance, state failure (oil breeds corruption) or resource rents make democracy malfunction”…or “the onset of civil violence (blood diamonds, oil succession and so on). In this account, oil has been invested with almost Olympian transformative powers. Oil distorts the organic, natural course of development. Oil wealth ushers in an economy of hyper-consumption and spectacular excess.”
Did he caution Granger and his Cabinet about how to avoid these traps? Did he cite his book, “Democracy in Difficult Places”, and warn him about, “Nigeria as a case in point. Its immense oil wealth, which should be used to help the country develop, makes politicians particularly anxious to hold on to office. They employ ever fouler means to do so, and elections thus become little more than organised gangsterism. The violent methods the politicians use become the modus operandi of their period in office, and the whole political system is corrupted.”??
Or, “As with elections and reform, democracy is a force for good as long as it is more than a façade”? And “there must be a system of checks and balances within the rule of law”?
…on the African experience
Collier’s best seller – with no footnotes, so we’ve got to pretty much take his assertions on faith – was “The Bottom Billion”, which dissected the “African Experience”, where three-quarters of his “bottom billion” are “trapped in poverty”. And from which data he also mined his “Democracy in difficult Places”. In fact, Collier’s built a veritable cottage industry on the woes of Africa.
His “resource curse” thesis, however, studiously avoids structural factors such as those identified by our own Walter Rodney in “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”. In fact, one of his suggestions to solve Africa’s democratic deficit is for the developed North to intervene and head off threats. Like the intervention of George W, which resulted in 1million Iraqi lives lost. Or of AfriCom’s increasing secret interventions in Africa, such the botched Niger operation? Collier explicitly avers that you have to crack some shells (lives) to make an omelette (democracy)!
He pushes against throwing “testosterone-charged” youths into unemployment, since they can precipitate violence out of their frustrations.
Did he tell Granger to find employment for the fired young sugar workers?
By now, one hopes Collier’s seen “Black Panther”. Has he filled in President Granger and the Cabinet that it’s not just fantasy?
Botswana used its resource (diamonds) as a blessing – and not a curse!!