Guyanese must share in this prosperity

Dear Editor,
The Ministry of Natural Resources has announced that the payment for the country’s fifth oil lift was received and deposited into the Natural Resources Fund Account.
On February 5, 2021, a total 997,420 barrels of oil was lifted from Liza Destiny, with a value of US$61,090,968.03 with a grand total to date of 5,009,797 barrels of oil worth US$246,542,662.
Inclusive of Royalties, the total in the Natural Resources Fund Account now stands at US$267,668,709.12.
The question of local content inevitably becomes significant to our country now. How many jobs will be created for local citizens? What kind of training opportunities for citizens and local businesses will be supported? How will the development benefit local schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure? How will your Exxon help local communities build the capacity to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead?
Exxon’s long-term commitment is to support initiatives to further build human capacity, advance education, improve health care, and promote sustained economic diversification simultaneously as they deposit the cheque into the Natural Resources Fund Account. These works will boost their shared capacity development efforts in Guyana while preparing Guyanese to capitalise on new and expanded economic opportunities
Achieving the right balance is the goal for President Ali and the Government. All of Guyana’s 800,000 residents are hoping that Exxon’s voluntary commitments to help support initiatives to further build human capacity would be translated into action very soon. Exxon must be aware that it is alleged that ExxonMobil negotiated an exploitative oil deal with the Government of Guyana that has cause the country to lose out on up to US$55 billion of revenue. Former APNU/AFC Minister Raphael Trotman – who helped negotiate the deal, and ultimately signed it – may have been operating under a possible conflict of interest. The evidence suggests that Trotman also failed to represent his country effectively during negotiations, declining to listen to expert advice and undervaluing Guyana’s apparently strong bargaining position.
The lost US$55 billion could have been used now to build needed infrastructure and sea defences to protect the 90% of the population at risk from rising sea levels. Exxon’s numbers priority is to do well in Guyana from Guyana’s sweet crude and to make money. However, Guyanese must share in this prosperity which is not sustainable otherwise; and Exxon must insist that it happens.

David Adams