Plugging the hole…

…in the oil tank
While they’re pleading “inexperience”, it’s not as if Granger, the PNC and his environmentalist running the Energy Department weren’t aware of the need for transparency when it comes to getting value for money with our oil resources. Jeez!! How many times are they going to pull Trotman on us, the people of Guyana, who are the owners of the said resources? Fool me once…
Yet, here they are taking on those same experts to negotiate a spot price for our crude through a procedure that just reeks of incestuous hanky-panky!! Just as it was with Trotman’s infamous “bonus”, Bynoe and company were outed about inviting some sole-sourced oil majors – most of them with skin in the game since they’re drilling and lifting our crude! – when an overseas news outlet published the info!!
But it’s not just that if folks know what’s going on in their name the PNC boys might keep on the straight and narrow, they’re required by LAW to inform certain agencies to ensure the aforementioned hanky-panky and playing footsies don’t get out of hand. The Auditor-General snorted so hard his coffee gushed through his nose when he read that Bynoe claimed the spot sales weren’t REALLY sales and, therefore, don’t have to be sanctioned to the procurement body! Aren’t the crude traders SELLING a service which Bynoe’s BUYING??
But the Government had announced early on that it was burnishing its transparency credentials in the nascent oil industry by signing on to the Extractive Industry Transparency Institute (EITI)? And facilitated a local affiliate? Did Bynoe even read what the EITI says about what the latter calls “first trade” process?? More specifically, “EITI Guidance note 26: Reporting on first trades in oil”?
Let’s remind him: on the “selection of buyers and allocation” they warn about “governance and reputational risks”. The first one being “bribery of officials to secure contracts and discretion in the negotiation of terms”!! And how should this concern be addressed? Through “transparency measures” that include “open, competitive and rule-based allocation processes to ensure a levelled playing field of sales contracts”!! More specifically, its Rule 4.2(b) declares: “Implementing countries” must disclose “the technical and financial criteria used to make the selection” of buyers!!
The Auditor-General bluntly declared that Bynoe’s “explanation” for his handpicked bidders for our first oil “makes no sense”!! He’s promised to look into it. But we know that the AG’s critique of this Government’s lawlessness in its practices is like throwing water on duck’s back: it simply rolls off and leaves the duck smirking and looking sleeker!! So what’s EITI gonna do ‘bout it?? They, at least, are an international body with teeth.

 …in GAWU’s response arsenal
Your Eyewitness was chuffed when he saw the letter: “GAWU in solidarity with French workers”. They elaborated, “The GAWU has been following closely the ongoing and widely-supported protests by the workers of France as they seek to rightfully defend any erosion of their gains at this time. Our Union is aware that for many weeks now, thousands of workers and other segments of the population in that country have staged picketing, marches, demonstrations and other activities across that country to express their strong disagreement and vehement opposition to reforms in France’s pension arrangements which would really render the workers worse off”.
Your Eyewitness had also been following the French strikes and had compared their militancy – clashing with the Police in Paris, bringing the country’s transport to a halt; threatening to do same with Christmas etc – to GAWU’s reaction when ONE-THIRD of their sugar industry members hadn’t just been threatened but UNILATERALLY FIRED!! At least Macron had negotiated with the unions for TWO YEARS!!
Is GAWU signalling a French-inspired action here?? Bravo!!

 …on Police excesses
Exactly a decade after the 2009 torture of a West Bank youth, its repetition by two Policemen – sons of a senior GPF officer – reveals a sick, pervasive mindset.
No cover-ups like with that hit-and-run incident!