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This has reference to reports and commentaries on ongoing work relating to the construction of the Vreed-en-Hoop Shorebase Inc at the mouth of the Demerara River. I will not address environmental impact which has not been addressed and which the environmental agency simply ignored. Clearly, the base is more important than the livelihoods of thousands and the damage to the natural habitat of flora and fauna; Spawning grounds have been disrupted and so is the lives of fisherfolks.
It is reported that the shore base is a wholly owned private investment. An earlier report says it is underwritten by Exxon from Guyana’s oil revenues. The private investors have put in some funds (about US$50M) and Exxon is funding the rest of the estimated US$300 M project from Guyana’s oil revenues. The cost is expected to grow up to 50%. After the base is completed, it will be turned over to the private investors. With the shore base being funded mostly from Guyana’s oil revenues, how could it be a private investment? It is in fact a private, public partnership. Is this another of those projects funded by government revenues and handed over to supporters of ruling figures – as took place in Marriott and Berbice Bridge, among others? It is widely known that private individuals tend to front for government figures. Is this another case?
The government has given the green light to the project including the financial arrangement. It is therefore not a private arrangement. Any project involving government’s funding is not private. It is subject to the scrutiny of parliament and the public. The contract and the arrangement must be made public. The media should start asking questions: What is the arrangement between Exxon and the private investors and the government? Since government is putting in the lion’s share of the investment, should it not be owned by the government (in trust for the people)? The nation needs answers to these and related questions. If government officials don’t want to answer questions, then Exxon can explain its and the government’s involvement in this project. The public is entitled to answers.