On Friday evening, President David Granger announced that Guyana has finally assumed the status of a full-fledged Petro-State and while this historic occasion is supposed to be a joyous one for all, it is only so for ExxonMobil and its partners, says Petroleum Academic and Attorney-at-law, Charles Ramson Jnr.
Yesterday, Ramson opined that ‘first oil’ which occurred on December 20, last, will remain a sad reminder for Guyanese as they would not get the true value of their resource due to the poor deal the APNU+AFC administration renegotiated and signed with ExxonMobil in October 2016.
The lawyer said that the contract governing Guyana’s take from the Stabroek Block will always go down as one of the world’s worst contracts.
The lawyer said, “The deal that we got in 2016 is a horrible one. It is simply atrocious and it will lead us to lose billions of dollars in revenue leakage. While it will result in Government in getting some amount of revenue from the meager two per cent royalty for example, it is nothing compared to what other oil producing nations have been able to get because their government ensured that they got more than the crumbs for their people”
He said that any reference to Guyana becoming like Qatar or Norway is totally misleading, and perhaps, even delusional as such nations ensured that they got a good deal for their resource.
Ramson was also keen to remind citizens that the behaviour of the government since 2015 in handling the oil industry reeked of incompetence and opaqueness.
He added that the government has failed to lay the legislative and regulatory framework that is needed to effectively run the industry; hence, his earlier comment that first oil on December 20 is a sad day for Guyana.
Also sharing similar sentiments with Ramson yesterday was his party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). In a statement to the press, the PPP said that while ‘first oil’ should have fueled the hopes and aspirations of Guyanese across the country, given the opportunities in the oil and gas sector, it has morphed into a cause for greater apprehension about the future.
The PPP said, “Guarantees that petroleum production will be transformative for Guyana’s economic development and that it will improve welfare and the prosperity of our people are non-existent.
“Instead, (President David) Granger continues to tout his vague ‘Decade of Development’ mantra as the panacea for finally fulfilling the ‘good life’. It also exposes his penchant for declaratory statements and sloganeering – rhetoric that is exposed as such, since ‘first oil’ has nothing to do with any effort on his part.”
The PPP said instead, what obtains under Granger’s stewardship is a plethora of failures. The PPP said Granger’s record in office, even outside the oil and gas sector, reflects the same story: increased borrowing; increased tax collection of $88M more annually, compared to 2014; wasteful spending and depletion of our reserves; deterioration in the delivery of public services, more so in the health sector; no plans for housing; increased cost of living; escalation of crime and more.
The PPP further stated that Granger ignores the fact that development, success and prosperity are the result of positive policies – something his Coalition seems incapable of formulating. It also stated that Granger’s fixation on ‘good life’ speeches will not translate into progress and prosperity for the people; the hard work has to be put in.
The Opposition stressed that there can only be positive advances if the oil monies are well managed.