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Unlike Financial Representatives (MP’s), A.R.F. Webber and Joseph Eleazer, and other members of the Popular Party of British Guiana in 1920’s, the present government is very ready to hand over to extractors Guyana’s most precious assets. The oil giveaway and scandal is still being exposed as the most unpatriotic agreement signed by any government anywhere on the planet in the history of mining.
Not only citizens, such as Mr. Glenn Lall, have exposed the lopsided giveaway of Guyana’s wealth to the oil company ExxonMobil and its partners, but financial experts long acquainted with oil industry have taken the same position.
About 14 days ago, the Guyana government announced another victory for the cabinet in its giveaway of Guyana’s gold deposits. These have been worked with big and small successes and failures by Guyanese for over a century. Even before the 1890’s, indigenous communities had found ways of recovering precious minerals from the earth giving rise to the well known stories of “A City of Gold – El Dorado” in the Guyana interior.
In its triumphal announcement, the government assured Guyanese that it was handing over unlimited deposits of gold to some three foreign companies. In the words of Vice President Jagdeo these companies were each larger than OMAI. This development is an unqualified betrayal of the Guyanese people. Whereas it can be argued that our rulers did not sign an oil contract until 1999, this ignorance does not apply to gold and diamond mining.
The Chronicle newspaper of July 26, 1926 reports a speech by Honourable Joseph Eleazer, which is summarized in the book “Buxton- Friendship in Print and Memory”. Eleazer at the time was Financial Representative (MP) for New Amsterdam. He recalled that the people’s representatives in the Combined Court (CC) had carried a resolution forbidding the executive from handing over lands bearing precious metals to foreign companies in preference to Guyanese. That was in the 1920’s. Today, in the 21st century we have a government and a political class that does not understand in theory or practice that the natural resources of Guyana belong not to the political class but to all Guyanese.
The WPA MP in the National Assembly in the second half of the 1980’s, while joining with environmentalists in campaigns against pollution of the rivers on which the indigenous people depend, moved a motion in the National Assembly calling on the government to establish a Pork-Knockers Bank to solve the financing problems of pork-knockers or tributors. The PPP supported that motion but the PNC Minister declared, “The pork-Knockers will disappear as the dinosaurs disappeared”. Today, the PPP is importing monsters into the mining industry.
In his 1926 speech Eleazer explained how the diamonds of the Mazaruni River helped to avert an economic crisis in British Guiana by becoming a source of fairly well distributed popular earnings and by providing a market for the expanding rice industry. Future writings will attempt to show, as others are doing, the serious misconceptions about government and development that fills the heads of those in the government who hold and exercise real power.