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Reference is made to the Reuters article (July 14) making the rounds in social media and to which local media also carried comments; all over Guyana and maybe even the diaspora has become aware of the subject.
One aspect of the article struck me and other readers I spoke with having to do with the funding of the shore base that is being built on an artificial island at the mouth of the Demerara River. We read that Exxon has contracted a private company (three Guyanese partners and a Belgium builder) to construct the base. The private company, a consortium, is putting up a paltry figure to build the base with Exxon putting up over 95% of the cost. Exxon is funding the project from cost oil that will deducted be from revenues that are supposed to go the government.
The private company puts up a mere US$15 million and Exxon the rest to construct the initial phase of the shore base costing some US$300 million. The first phase is supposed to be ready by early 2024. The other phases of the shore base are projected to cost upwards of $900 million. Exxon will lease the shore base and is paying rent up front for usage of the entire facility. The private company will fully own the shore base. In short, Exxon builds the project with Guyana government cost oil revenues, all being our money except the initial investment of $15 million, and then hand over the shore base to the private consortium.
The base is basically being built by Guyana government money. Whose brilliant idea is this? Is it Jagdeo’s, the economist who studied at Patrice Lumumba University? Has that university produced brilliant economists that resulted in Skeldon, among other failures! Why is Exxon paying with our government money for a project that is private. Guyana government should own the shore base since our money is funding over 98% of the project. Could it be that there are more partners (behind the scene) who have controlling interest in the shore base that are not publicly revealed?
The government (read Bharrat Jagdeo) must come clean on how the shore base is being funded and assert ownership. The Vice President, the man in charge of all energy related matters and projects, must provide clarification on ownership and funding of this project. Could it be that Jagdeo is above board on this project?