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Dear Editor, I listened to the debate on Kaieteur News between Kaieteur Publisher, Glenn Lall and Guyana Vice President and former President and General Secretary of the PPP Bahrrat Jagdeo.
At a forum earlier, titled ‘Men of Power’ held at the Jesus Deliverance Church in Kitty, I observed that VP Jagdeo had studied and learnt from the Master Blaster.
I must have been wrong because his statements during the debate and recent ones were disappointing and reminded me of the ‘slippery ochro.’ not able or willing to provide Glenn Lall straight, truthful answers.
It is this latter condition that is worrisome, and I said to myself that the Government hierarchy seem to believe that the rest of us including the PPP/C supporters are a bunch of nincompoops.
First, we hear that the PPP government who while in opposition severely criticized the arrangements with the oil giants and we all look forward to when they got into office in 2020 to be consistent and deal with this matter swiftly seeking better conditions for the people of Guyana, instead we hear this nonsense about the sanctity of contracts.
Everywhere, and I repeat everywhere in every continent in every situation, treaties, contracts and agreements can be re-examined, changed and adjusted in keeping with changing circumstances and the needs of either of the contracting parties.
Not so here, Guyana is different. A release from the Minister of Natural Resources states that the Contract signed in 2016 cannot be renegotiated until fourteen years hence.
This is confounded nonsense. Minister Vickram Bharat recognises the Golden Arrowhead and appreciates the deeper meaning of our National Pledge which he must have recited at some time which says inter alia ‘ To be loyal to my country and dedicate my energies towards the happiness and prosperity of Guyana.’
Even at the personal level, traditionally man and woman, swear before Man and God to stay together: ‘until death do us part,’ yet everywhere there are divorce cases before death.
This talk about the sanctity of contracts is unworthy of serious political leaders who must know of the above mentioned circumstances.
Our Ministers swear on their Holy Book to uphold the Constitution of Guyana, yet daily we see the Constitution being trampled upon.
So what is this nonsense about the sanctity of a Contract?
All that is happening, we are being made the laughing stock of the world.
In April 2019, President David Arthur Granger and ExxonMobil Country Head, Rod Henson signed an Agreement making certain adjustments to bring greater benefits to this and succeeding generations.
In this regard, few of us have congratulated David Arthur Granger for his courage, concern and deep sense of patriotism for this noble step.
I publicly applaud him.
We learnt from the VP that an oil subsidiary Esso Exploration & Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) was registered in Guyana but that is not so, it was registered in the Bahamas, so taxes now going to the Bahamas should be coming to Guyana. I can only assume that the honourable VP was mslead by some person or persons.
If my information is correct, what is distressing is that the President and Vice President have a number of Advisors and staff who ought to be doing research so that our political leaders don’t neglect such faux pas.
On this note, could the Hon. Minister responsible for the vital subject of the environment say if the present Head of the EPA is better qualified than Dr. Vincent Adams who until 2020 headed this vital agency and if the incumbent, as I believe is the case, is less qualified, why is the services of Dr. Adams was unceremoniously terminated?
These matters ought not to be ignored.
When will our Government bat for us and not as it seems for the other folks?
While this question is being answered, I bring Dear Editor to your attention, Statements made by our VP with regard to harassment and mistreatment of our fishermen operating in the Atlantic waters off the Surinamese coast.
The problem the fishermen seem to have revolves around the issues of fishing licences by the Surinam authorities.
Since accession to office by President Ali of Guyana and President Chan Santokhi of Surinam we have shown a perceived preference for winning and dining, hugging and back slapping with Surinam more than our traditional English-speaking territories such as Trinidad, Antigua, etc.
Whatever may be the reasons, what use is this camaraderie to our fishermen?
In my time, as happened elsewhere, a single telephone call from our President, Vice President, Prime Minister or Minister of Foreign Affairs to a counterpart in Surinam should bring relief to our fishermen and solve this issue.
Why should our VP be groaning and grumbling? Where are our Advisors and particularly the Minister of Foreign Affairs in all of this?
Why are we diminishing ourselves with a neighbour to the East?
While agreeing with the Statements on this matter of the fishermen, unless I can be corrected, this ought to be a matter that should have been resolved at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
If such initiatives fail, Guyana should not grumble but where necessary, growl loud enough to be heard across our rivers to the Surinamese capital.
Whichever Government is in Surinam should be taught to respect Guyana even as the issue of the Corentyne River has remained unsettled between Holland and Great Britain since the end of World War II.
Recall, in mid 1969, when Surinamese began settling in the New River triangle, Guyana didn’t grumble. We growled and grabbed. The rest is to the glory of our Defense Force and history.
May I take this opportunity to congratulate and to thank the likes of Glenn Lall, Christopher Ram, Anand Goolsarran and others for shedding light on important matters