We are a nation held in suspense. President Granger has accepted that he now heads a caretaker or ‘interim’ Government but refuses to comply with the clear provision that states his Cabinet stands resigned. We are subject to a steady stream of double-speak and transparent ploys to delay or obfuscate the holding of elections on or before September 18, 2019, as required by our Constitution and ensuring unbroken democracy in Guyana.
While David Granger has us suspended in his web, he may want to consider what else is in suspension because of his intransigence.
Local content legislation cannot be passed into law. Discovery of Oil in commercial quantity was announced on May 21, 2015, the failure to formulate policy and accompanying legislation is unforgivable dereliction of duty to the people of Guyana. I have no knowledge that any legislation has been prepared for debate. In the absence of laws, Guyanese are reliant on ExxonMobil to be a good actor in this regard.
The Leader of the Opposition has already made it clear that vital Sovereign Wealth legislation was not passed by legitimate means and is of no effect. Such legislation will have to be tabled and debated post-elections, in the new Parliament.
The oil revenue that should flow to the nation’s coffers will also be in suspension. ExxonMobil is cognizant of its mistakes in Equatorial Guinea and Angola, and have committed itself to transparent operations in Guyana. Oil production will not be delayed or suspended; ‘First Oil’ will be produced and sold. Guyana is supposed to receive her share in oil for resale by her own devices; however, with a caretaker or ‘interim’ Government in place, Guyana’s portion of oil will in fact be sold and the revenues placed in a suspension account. This is not an escrow account held in trust by a third party such as the US Federal Reserve; it is in fact a paper transaction to account for money held in ExxonMobil’s operational account. It will earn no interest and may become subject to US taxation and eventual seizure if the situation persists for a longer period. Even if the money is all there when this period is behind us, time that should be spent kick starting our economy will be lost cannot be recovered.
It may be prudent to ask ExxonMobil to confirm its course of action in the eventuality that “First Oil’ precedes the next General & Regional Election.
President Granger has suspended democracy for now but will find he is hoisted by his own petard in the end, for every rope, no matter how long, ends with a backward jerk into reality.