Overcoming a high level of country risk

Dear Editor,
Many comrades have spoken on the path taken to where we are today. Many have also complained about the bad deal with Exxon and the wasteful approach being taken in the industry. It is important to remember that stealing from those who have stolen from you is not a justifiable act. Many foreign investors are still upset about the investments lost during the PNC post-Independence era of Nationalisation. Thus, many view new investments with a high degree of country risk, which requires extremely high returns to compensate for any potential loss.
If we reflect upon the nationalisation that took place in our recent post-Independence history, it becomes pellucid that many foreign investors lost their investments and would consider what occurred to be the equivalent of theft. Now it feels as though the tables have been turned, and the foreign view of iniquity of the PNC of the past is now returning upon our country. Many local leaders also consider what occurred to be a selfish act in the signing of a very bad oil deal in return for personal and family gains. If so, this is but a continuation of the robbery of the national treasury.
What is evident is the attempted seizure of power during the last election. If this had been successful, and based on the evident corruption that is being uncovered, coupled with the personal sanctions put in place by foreign governments, those involved most probably would have further capitalised on the opportunity to take from what rightfully belongs to all Guyanese. This speaks volumes of the immoral and low stature of those individuals.
The PPP has to now balance the history of the PNC “robbing” foreign investors and creating national instability, which increases country risk, with the desire for a fair oil deal. This is best approached with clean hands. More specifically, the annual performance review built into the oil contract allows for the discussion and improvement of contract terms. Also, it is important to exercise the option, where possible, to slow down the expansion of drilling operations until obtaining a balanced agreement. Our citizens know the difficult history that we must overcome when dealing with foreign investors, and being patient yet thorough and exhaustive in our negotiations continues to be necessary.
Many successful global and corporate leaders are of the opinion that an open mind is needed to be successful in an ever-changing global environment. This, too, we must embrace to be successful in uplifting our country beyond the obvious and somewhat flawed development undertaken by many nations in the past.
We must travel the road less taken to ensure and secure the economic and environmental future of our nation during this current shift in global energy consumption. Even the USA is exploring the use of wave energy. We must reduce the impact of a bad oil and gas deal by showing our leadership in a climate change-friendly approach to energy consumption and exploitation. The world needs this to occur, and we need to partner with companies such as Exxon to help elevate the discussion and approach taken to improving the current problems faced by the planet due to fossil fuel consumption. This is the leadership required for today’s Guyana.

Best regards,
Jamil Changlee