Senegal’s new President, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, soon after his swearing-in, announced that he would convene an audit of the state of play as Senegal journeys to first oil. One newspaper in Guyana carried a huge headline that Senegal’s new President has convened the renegotiation of Senegal’s oil contract with big oil companies. The headline was totally misleading, and is a misrepresentation of the truth. Senegal was ahead of Guyana in 2012 when it signed the first agreements. Despite experiencing one delay after another, they were confident in 2023 that they had reached a stage for 1st oil. They now think they could get there by mid-year 2024. There is a possibility that, with the announcement of a planned audit, there might be further delays in 1st oil and the more lucrative gas production they expect.
During the election campaign, the then-opposition leader, now the president of Senegal, promised that should he win the election and become the president, he would renegotiate the oil contracts with BP, Total, and other oil companies. He was unequivocal in his promise. Whether or not he would advance to a renegotiation remains to be seen. This column in no way questions the new president’s honesty in this promise. However, now that he is the president of Senegal, it is instructive that his announcement about oil and gas only relates so far as an intention for an audit to be conducted. He was clear that he did not want to discourage investment in his country.
Ruminations’ reason for highlighting the Guyanese newspaper’s headline is that the headline and the story are two different things. The headline blared that Senegal had started a renegotiation. The actual newspaper story is that Senegal has announced an audit. The headline clearly misinformed people, and misrepresented the facts.
This is yet another example of how this particular newspaper is on a propaganda journey, twisting the facts to suit its narrative to stop oil and gas in Guyana. It was just last week that this same newspaper calculated that India paid just over US$5M for a military plane, as opposed to Guyana buying two of the same planes from the same manufacturer for a cost of just over US$23M. They argued that Guyana could have bought four of the planes if they had the same deal as India. As it turned out, the headline and story in that newspaper were also false.
Their mathematics skills were exposed as they fell into the voodoo mathematics club. As it turned out, India procured six planes at a cost of just over US$81M, which comes to about US$13M each. The price in both Guyana’s case and India’s case included training and parts. Was it a case of poor mathematics skills, or was it a deliberate attempt to misinform people? To this day, no apologies have emanated from that newspaper, even though their false story was exposed.
But they have a narrative they are pushing. They want to stop the oil. They have used a platform for renegotiation to slow down and stop oil production in our country. On one hand, they want to show that all the oil countries are renegotiating their contracts except Guyana. This is false. Venezuela, Nigeria, Bolivia, and Kazakhstan are countries that have all forcibly renegotiated their contracts. How many of these countries have done better? Most countries of the small handful of countries that tried renegotiating their contracts have seen decreased investments, etc., none doing better than before.
Like many countries, Guyana could have done a better job during the negotiation of the PSA that was signed in 2016, with the Guyanese people only knowing the details much later, when Bharrat Jagdeo and the PPP exposed the contract. Even the US$18M signing bonus was hidden. Of the Granger-led APNU/AFC government’s senior officials, including David Granger, Raphael Trotman, and Winston Jordon, none has told a story about the US$18M that is consistent.
The question is: what chance does Guyana have in a lengthy, unproductive renegotiation? Even if we could get past the contract itself, which requires that all parties agree to renegotiate, are we to freeze development that is taking place at a dizzying pace, transforming our country and the lives of our citizens?
The PPP Government does have a track record of building Guyana’s infrastructure, but the Government had to limit itself to basic infrastructure at a slow pace because access to revenue was restricted. Now there is a dizzying pace of physical transformation around our country. In this term alone, the Irfaan Ali-led government would be able to commission the new Demerara River Bridge, the Wismar Bridge, and dozens of bridges that would make possible the dream of a highway from Georgetown to Brazil. Bridges across the Berbice River and the Corentyne River would be significantly advanced. There are new highways, new roads and streets; and in every community, there are now streets being upgraded, with very few mud dams still existing.
New schools and new hospitals are under construction. The housing boom is the envy of countries in the Caribbean and as far away as Africa. Most of our people are accessing potable water. Disposable income in families in all regions has significantly improved. New small businesses are emerging and sprouting up everywhere.
Investors are flocking to Guyana. New hotels are going up before our very eyes. New private hospitals are being established. New service industries are coming to Guyana.
But the small band of anti-progress in our country is in a frenzy and desperate. They want to stop, at all cost, development for our country and our people. They simply will not accept a developed Guyana under the leadership of the PPP. They would rather have a poor country with poor people, rather than a developed country under the PPP.
Guyana is on a path to prosperity. Guyana is likely to have the biggest economy in CARICOM by 2030, from a basket case to the “King of the Hills”. This is what the anti-progress cadre wants to derail.

Previous articleEid Mubarak!
Next articlePlaying…