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OPINION: This is how small Exxon is, how low it will go for a dollar

by GHK Lall

Amid the swirling developments, tensions and rackets generated by the US$214 million audit farce, I took a step back and counted stock.  Under the microscope appeared Exxon and Mr. Alistair Routledge, and VP Jagdeo and PPP Government fundamentalists.  There were also those fine Guyanese who shrug and say that what will be, will be.  Exxon is first.

Fellow citizens, there is this audit with US$214 million in findings.  It means US$107 million for Guyana, and the same absorbed by Exxon.  Now, Exxon’s share is 45% of that figure, which amounts to US$48.15 million.  For US$48.15 million Exxon goes out of its way to wring Guyana’s hand.  I am sure that Mr. Routledge would insist that it is the principle of the thing, and not at all about money.  It would be another singular example of the mastery with which Mr. Routledge handles his pressing duties on behalf of the American Komodo dragon let loose in Guyana.  For US$48.15 million, Exxon goes to the mat and grapples with Guyana for every blind cent.  Some kind of partner Exxon is.  Exxon even entertains engagements with Ministry of Natural Resources personnel, behind the back of Dr. Jagdeo and the GRA, as we are told.  Exxon is now in the pantheon of trusted partners of this country, I would say as trusted as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.  The skeptic in me wrestles with if Exxon has anything to do with developments over there.  Yes, the company is this low, this treacherous.  But it is a partner.

This is the entity (Exxon) and its doings that Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo defends.  This is on behalf of whom (Exxon) that Dr. Jagdeo attacks solitary Guyanese presences, who advocate that the company appears up to no good, and is all bad for Guyana.  This is the same Exxon for which Dr. Jagdeo lets loose his Praetorian Guard to deal with upstart Guyanese, so that the company’s and his own self-serving narratives will gain traction, attract some level of credibility.  Exxon is the corporate force that handed Guyana 2 percent and a scattering of crumbs for its billions of barrels of oil.  That was what Dr. Jagdeo et al in the PPP once denounced, hauled through the sewer, and then left for the hyenas and jackals to rip to shreds.  This is the same Exxon that Dr. Ali and Dr. Jagdeo and Dr. Nandlall embrace today, with a forced smile and a hopeful heart.  Please let us remain where we are.  We will do anything to stay in office: advance upon any Guyanese, put on the best creative hat possible, wear any dunce cap (as has been the case), absorb any disgrace.  Just let us stay in power.

This is what Guyana’s enormous, now fabled, oil wealth is all about, at its core.  This is the kind of generous and dependable partner that Exxon is, that Mr. Routledge stands tall and carries a big stick for: 2 percent, half of a suspect profit package (expenses likely gamed, interest rate at loan shark levels, and more), and now US$214 million skinned, scalped, and shaved all the way to US$3 million.  Exxon is against its 45 percent share of US$107 million, which is US$48.15 million.  But delightfully blissful about half of US$3 million, which then boils down to 45 percent of US$1.5 million.  I suggest that Exxon takes that US$675,000 and sponsor a cricket tournament to demonstrate how it is at one with Guyana; or hire some more media contributors and community activists.

I ponder what my dear brother has to say about all of this.  Really, there is nothing to say when local treachery is what buttresses the Exxon-Guyana (Exxon-PPP) partnership.  All those Guyanese with their fancy dance steps spreadsheets and Exxon-flavored syntax may have something to say about how rotten Exxon looks in this Guyana of ours.  It is one thing to sing for supper; it is quite another when supper is the stuff of the cesspit.  It is not worth it to sell one’s country down the drain, and its expectant poor up the river, for the 30 pieces of silver that Exxon provides.  No amount of money directly or indirectly from such a clawing, gouging, leprous hand as Exxon’s can ever have any value.  Not for any halfwit with some measure of honor left.  Not with what the company is doing to this country.  Not with the public relations wizardries that Mr. Alistair Routledge so condescendingly and paternalistically delivers to soothe Guyanese.  He savages Guyanese, truth be told.

I regret that there are those that find merit in the monstrosity that is Exxon.  I think that prostitutes would be better partners for Guyana than Exxon.  If any Guyanese had any positive thoughts about Exxon, I recommend familiarizing with the nitty-gritty of the US$214 million audit, and how the company schemed to get every last penny from Guyana.  Exxon can be perceived as one that will rob the dead, snatch food from children.  I will take a parasite before I take Exxon as a partner.  But Dr. Jagdeo being the political animal Jagdeo, with instincts to match, is ecstatic about the partnership that he has worked out with Exxon.  I don’t think that Guyana features.