Oil wealth is notorious for corrupting its host nation

Dear Editor,
With the public announcement in the local media that ExxonMobil is gearing up for oil production from Guyana’s first oil well by mid-2020, and that the company announced that it has awarded contracts to United States-based SBM offshore for a floating production, storage and offloading vessel, we trust Guyana’s economy and all Guyanese would directly benefit from this find when production starts.
Many of us locals had hoped and prayed that Guyana would become one of the first Third World nations that finds, extracts and sells oil on the world market that will allow its oil wealth to trickle down to the masses.
History has shown us that the trickle down is a rarity.
Oil wealth is notorious for corrupting its host nation. We do hope and wonder how our national administrators will conduct themselves if and when the oil begins to flow? This is based on the traits shown by some greedy persons over the past years.
And we do hope also that those in authority will revise and update our antiquated laws regarding foreign multinational corporations. With the present laws we have, we are going to expose ourselves to be “ripped off” by anyone, especially large multinational corporations. This is in light of our history of giving things away to foreigners.
Many locals may be very troubled by the differences in power and resources between ExxonMobil and Guyana as this project moves forward. Guyana being at a distinct disadvantage. For the moment things look grim for Guyana. It’s hard up for cash and we fear agreements may be made that favour ExxonMobil. A powerful nation like Russia had to capitulate. Just imagine little Guyana.
Guyana versus ExxonMobil is like David and Goliath all over again, but the result will be different.
Our hopes are being lifted, but we must be realistic and be prepared for the fall. Remember bauxite. Look at Nigeria which oil is controlled by foreigners and large multinational corporations.

Yours faithfully,
Rooplall Dudhnath