The oil contract signed under the APNU/AFC coalition government continues to come in for sharp criticism from both local and overseas reputable organisations and individuals. In some cases, condemnation seems unavoidable.
Recently, in-depth analysis/investigation by a respected international body revealed that possibly US$55B may have been lost as a result of what was allegedly signed off by representatives of the APNU/AFC Government. Senior functionaries are now embroiled in that fiasco.
From what has been made public by the analysts alluded to, there is a belief that self-interest, on the part of those entrusted to sign the contract, may have taken precedence over the best interest of the country and its people. If the reported loss is as stated, then the magnitude of how the country may have been set back is startling.
Experts have already made known how that revenue could be used to improve facilities and the lives of Guyanese. There have also been calls for the officials in question to be held accountable for their alleged actions in what many believe was a “sell-out” of the country’s oil and gas resources.
Naturally, the APNU/AFC Government has offered a defence of what it has been accused of with regard to the said oil contract. Some analysts have found the Government’s response wanting in many ways in the face of what seems as irrefutable evidence to suggest that the country’s best interest may not have been foremost during the process.
Allegations of improprieties continue and, with an election just a few weeks away, expectation for the Government to concede and have its operatives involved be made accountable is extremely low or probably absent. Clearly, the numbers seem not to be adding up and as time progresses, Guyanese are becoming more aware of the Government’s action and the potential impact of the reported loss.
Since taking Government in May 2015, APNU/AFC never quelled its boasts to provide a good life to the citizenry. From all indications, through its seeming lack of interest in other industries like sugar, rice etc, APNU/AFC’s boasts appear solely dependent on the revenues from oil and gas which it sees as a panacea.
None can dispute that the good life promised remains a myth and made worse by APNU/AFC’s mismanagement of the economy. Since its tenure, Guyanese have been broadsided by a plethora of new tax measures and fees introduced by the coalition government. That, in turn, led to the closure of many businesses and a stark increase in unemployment.
In reality, the lives of those Guyanese have been made worse, a stark contrast to those of APNU/AFC officials who gave themselves a whopping salary increase at the expense of the ordinary workers. In addition, the extravagance of those officials in terms of travel, security, rentals and food shows that the good life was delivered just for them and not the ordinary citizens.
With a potential loss of the US$55B, Guyanese will continue to feel the brunt while the officials bask in the reported rewards. When everything is examined, it becomes extremely difficult to dismiss the alleged acts of self-interest that seemed a priority. It would not have been the first instance while in Government; the salary increase remains unforgettable at the expense of Guyanese, including thousands of sugar and Indigenous workers.
Clearly, it’s not the first time APNU/AFC would have placed itself above the best interest of Guyana and Guyanese. While in Opposition, it scuttled the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity project – which would have been completed by now providing cheap and reliable supply.
It was a project designed to transform Guyana and to support its once rapid unprecedented development and economic growth evident under the stewardship of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) government.
The Specialty Hospital suffered a similar fate at the hands of APNU/AFC and even funding for the Marriott, which they now use extensively, was slashed. The belief was that funding for the Marriott was withheld to safeguard the interest of one of the coalition’s major financier who is in the hospitality sector.
Such actions can only be interpreted as putting the interest of Guyana and Guyanese second to that of the APNU/AFC and its officials. It also demonstrates a hypocritical position of not only reneging on its boast to work in the best interest of the Guyanese people but on its much-touted promise to stop corruption. To date, numerous allegations have been levelled against it with untold reported financial improprieties raised in the Auditor General’s reports.
When those are examined, the magnitude of the self-interest becomes glaring. In other words, the extent to which Guyana and Guyanese may have been placed second becomes difficult to refute. The related allegations surrounding the US$55B potential loss in revenue may not have only further highlighted that propensity but would have embedded it internationally. That makes it difficult to for it to be swept under the carpet despite valiant attempts.