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At the risk of flagellation, I write to address Dr. Randolph Persaud’s letter that appeared in the Guyana Chronicle under the title, “Janette Bulkan conveniently ignores toxic oil-spill potential in her own backyard.” Having read the letter, I almost choked with laughter because I was expecting a discussion of some oil-spill potential in No. 71 Village, Bush Lot, Land of Canaan, Werk-en-Rust, or Prashad Nagar. Instead, I was treated to a letter riddled with internal inconsistencies. Let me explain:
First, the premise of Dr. Persaud’s letter is that an op-ed letter writer should only concern themselves with issues related to where they work or live. Dr. Persaud then launched in one of his Google search theses about the “Oil Tar Sands of Alberta.” Given the number of paragraphs devoted to the potential ecocide in Alberta and his underlying premise, I would want to believe that he may also reside next to Dr. Bulkan in Canada. If Dr. Persaud lives in the USA, then applying his own logic would preclude him from writing about the Canadian Tar Sand or the ecological impacts of oil development in Guyana. I don’t see him attacking Dr. David Hinds/Dr. Vishnu Bisram/Dr. Tara Singh [who reside outside of Guyana] using the same logic. Notwithstanding his faulty logic, I defend his right to write.
Second, Dr. Randolph Persaud characterizes Dr. Bulkan’s letter as “wishy-washy environmental economics.” Instead of a serious discussion of Dr. Bulkan’s letter, Dr. Persaud meanders into the Oil Tar Sand of Alberta. Not a mention of cost, impact or any potential remediation of a potential disaster in Guyana; instead, I am treated the same mediocrity that I associate with Dr. Hinds and Dr. Bisram.
Third, Dr. Persaud’s seminal idea is that “the three-year-old Guyana hydrocarbon industry does not threaten the life of a single indigenous community.” However, he has failed to recognize that our indigenous population is scattered in the hinterland of Guyana [Lethem, Orealla, Bartica, Kartabo, Aishalton, Moruca etc.]; far away from the off-shore oil fields. However, as of now, the impacts of oil exploration have not been felt by our coastal indigenous brothers and sisters.
Dr. Persaud discounts or under-estimate the impact off-shore oil development will have over time on our shrimp beds and on our basha catch. Dr. Persaud it would be unrealistic to believe that developing our off-shore oil and gas comes with zero impact on our marine environment. Over time the effects will show up. Please do not go into paroxysm in believing that I am against developing the resource. The development of Guyana’s oil is a freight train coming down the track. Those who oppose it will be run over. It is my belief that Dr. Bulkan and others are advocating a responsible course of action.
Guyanese do not want an “Oil and Gas equivalent” of the Madhia fire. Dr. Persaud, please address their concerns responsibly.