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When the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was in Opposition they shouted for all and sundry to hear that the oil contracts signed by the A Partnership For National Unity and Alliance For Change coalition government were deficient and Guyana got the wrong side of the deal. They made renegotiating the ExxonMobil contract a major plank in the 2020 Election campaign.
The PPP/C led the nation to believe that should they be given the opportunity to govern these contracts would be renegotiated and they could get a better deal for Guyana but when they got into office their interest shifted. Not only did they default on renegotiating the contracts, but they also allowed Guyana to default on its obligation to audit Exxon’s spending, and for our failure to do so we are now saddled with paying this company US$9.5 billion. Look what plight the PPP/C has caused to befall Guyana.
The US$9.5 billion Guyana must pay Exxon and with the regime borrowing US$1.5 billion from China for the construction of Amaila Falls generating electricity plant is demonstration they don’t care how they are managing our money. It is we, the taxpayers, who will have to honour these debts. This is economic recklessness at its worst. We the people must not support such conduct whether we voted for this group or not.
The PPP/C knew before they entered office Guyana has an obligation to meet every two years, or we will be saddled with paying the humongous sum without any question being asked. Were the Ali regime committed to Guyana and not hustling to use the resources of Guyana to honour pre-election promises to friends and cohorts, they would have addressed the nation’s obligations to audit expenses incurred by Exxon.
The time, resources, and energy the regime have expended to hound Guyanese down for one or two acres of land acquired during the tenure of the coalition they could have used the time, energy, and resources to address how Guyana can protect its resources from foreign capital. Clearly, this regime is not working in the interest of Guyana and Guyanese. Whereas they are quick to dispossess some sections of the Guyanese society, they act slothfully or ignore foreign interest to the detriment of all.
There is consensus in society to review every aspect of the oil contracts. Were the PPP/C serious about keeping the campaign promise on oil, and with a society united to get the best from Exxon exploiting our resources, there would have been unanimity in reviewing the timeframe to do the audit as stipulated in those contracts. Could you imagine the situation in the next two years if Guyana fails to do this audit? Guyana will be owing Exxon an additional US$9.5 billion every two years.
The present US$9.5 billion could have done much for Guyana and the working poor. Not only could the money offset PAYE (taxes), but it could also have paid decent (better) wages and salaries and realised improved working conditions. For instance, PAYE could have been suspended for at least ten-years giving workers a greater take home pay. The money could have been invested in training and educating a new labour force to meet the demands of the oil and gas industry. The University of Guyana could have benefitted tremendously in its delivery of education under improved physical conditions and modernised research and library facilities.
The health services could have had a boost. Some of this money could have benefitted the cash-strapped National Insurance Scheme (NIS), activate the Unemployment Benefit through regulations because the resource is there to offset such social responsibility. The possibilities are endless for what US9.5 billion dollars could do were those placed in charge of the nation’s business committed to serving the nation, protecting and advancing the nation and people’s interest. At the rate the regime is going when all the oil has been drained, Guyana could well end up owing Exxon.
Never before has this nation witnessed such travesty for never before did we have such a debt to pay to one company. This debt would stymie Guyana’s development and set us back significantly. The Irfaan Ali regime is showing no interest in good governance. If Guyanese don’t come together and hold this regime accountable for honouring their campaign promise on the oil contracts, come the next two years Guyana will not only have to pay another US$9.5 billion but cat will eat our dinner.