Back in the 1970s, a very streetwise Georgetown activist scrawled the word “POLITRICKS” across a fence in the city, and it seized the imagination of the people. It described the politics of Burnham and his PNC to a “T” – simply a con game designed for foreigners, who just look at headlines and never the text – much less the explanatory footnotes – of reports on Guyana!! Sadly for us, Burnham inspired a host of followers – not all from the PNC side of the fence!!
So, what to do to nudge politicians to focus on the development of the country, rather than just fattening their bank accounts?? Well, since this problem’s not unique to Guyana, but endemic to all societies – it appears we’re all bent in one way or another – there’s been a mechanism called “checks and balances” (C&Bs) introduced in government to help keep politicians along the “straight and narrow”. All the while pragmatically accepting that it’s impossible to keep the road from meandering a bit – and widening here and there!!
So how have we been doing with our C&Bs after the PPP was grudgingly conceded office on Aug 2, 2020?? Well, the biggest C&Bs are the parties that lost the elections: they’re given the OFFICIAL role of OPPOSITION to the Government. They’re supposed to keep the Government on the straight and narrow by highlighting whenever they discover an instance of them straying. But they can’t just shoot from their hips, spouting whatever comes to their lips – they gotta have facts and figures to convince skeptical folks.
The official Opposition Leader – the Leader of the largest Opposition party here, the PNC – is given a budget and an office to do this job. So why is it that in TWO years, the Opposition hasn’t come up with a single documented instance of the PPP’s politricks as operatives meander off the road?? No one will EVER convince your Eyewitness that some kind of hanky-panky isn’t being practised at some level of Government!! Like he said, it’s a human weakness!! You mean that with all the screaming and yelling about “corruption”, “thiefing” and “bribery” emanating from the Opposition benches, they can’t identify one ‘smoking gun”?? That’s a cryin’ shame!!
And they have more than just the Opposition Office at their disposal. In 2000, four Sectoral Committees covering the ENTIRE gamut of governmental activities – Security, Natural Resources, Economic and Border – were formed. The Chair is rotated annually between the Government and Opposition, and the Committees can summon ANYONE save the President to answer questions about their activity – IN REAL TIME, unlike the PAC. Do the Opposition mean to tell us that, in two years, their Chairs couldn’t grill a SINGLE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL about some sort of politricks??
It’s a goddamn shame!!
Now, we all know Trotman delivered one of the most lopsided contracts in the history of negotiation after he came back from Texas in 2016. Trinis talk about getting “horned” – what we call getting “blow” – so your Eyewitness guesses we Guyanese got “long-horned” by those Texans!! Anyhow, to ensure we weren’t “long-horned” BEFORE AND AFTER the contract-signing, we had the right to audit Exxon’s claimed “expenses”. This is deducted from revenues to determine the profits we share 50-50!!
No hard feelings – all businesses accept the principle of “caveat emptor” – buyer beware!! But what added salt to Trotman’s wound was that, knowing since 2016 we’d be needing auditors – the PNC did absolutely nothing!!!! The PPP had to start from scratch. Last May they hired a (politically correct!) local auditing “consortium” to audit Exxon’s claimed US$9 BILLION pre-production costs!!
The consortium @ US$700,000 ($150.5 million) ain’t cheap, but hopefully they’ll find a billion or two of excess charges – from which we can get our 50% share!!
A bonus by end Sept!??!
…help from China??
Folks forget that CNOOC – a WHOLLY-OWNED CHINESE STATE-OWNED COMPANY – owns 25% of our Stabroek Block. If the Chinese want to score points off the US, why don’t they tell us if Exxon’s screwing us??
Or have they – gasp!! – gone capitalist!!??