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Letter: Who Pays the Piper Will Call the Tune

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5th of September, 2020. Georgetown, Guyana, South America.

Last updated: September 5, 2020 at 11:20 am

Dear Editor,

                  In the parlance of the world’s male machoism, there is a popular saying, “If someone violates you for the first time it is not your fault. But if it happens a second time it is your fault.” The consensus is that you should have learn and be able to defend yourself against further violations.

Since the advent of oil and gas, countries and international organizations, that we deemed as friendly, had repeatedly offered free monies in the form of grants to pay for consultancy services or advice to bolster our governance structures to protect the environment and capture maximum returns for our people from our oil resources.

The results have never captured the sentiments of the above in the eyes of the people. It seems that in every instant that such grants or loans were given, the donor had always identified the personnel or consultancy firm from which we should be advised. In every instance those sources had been seen to be controversial and has placed us at the receiving end of the shaft. When will we contend that those who pay the piper will always call the tune? Or is it a case where our leaders like to see us being violated, or perhaps they profit from our violation?

You have to wonder how the Department of Energy got rid of Anthony Paul and handed 22 million to a Dr Werner who had proven connections with Exxon to produce the final draft of our local content policy with secrecy clause after entertaining so much public consultations. I would not want to think that anyone from the public recommend secrecy clause.

A KN article, “Guyana has made a fundamental error,” a few days ago revealed that the Energy Department had contracted a UK firm, “Bayphase” to review Exxon’s FDP for Payara. Despite suggestive conflict of interest by KN through knowledge that Bayphase was listed as a client of Exxon and Chonoco and has never knowingly cited either of the two for any faulty FDP or associated costs, the Coalition had hired Bayphase.

I am inclined to think that the donor for this consultancy, the world bank, giving its approval, may have hand picked Bayphase for this job – who pays the piper calls the tune!

The PPP Govt has shown a willingness to fast track Payara FDP. Stymied by public criticism of Exxon’s EIA and costs for Payara’s FDP, versus threats from Exxon about taking their investment elsewhere, they have decided to review the Bayphase assessment of Exxon’s FDP. I figure this is just to appease public resentment, nothing will be changed.

Suddenly a knight in shining armor appears – the Canadian Government with a grant to do the job. This does not come without its string attached. Canada’s own expert Allison Redford, who has never reviewed a FDP, is chosen to lead a team of experts to reevaluate the Bayphase job.

In light of what we have received so far from consultancy to bolster the management of our oil resources through grants and loans, we have to start questioning how much these Countries and international organizations that give us these grants and loans, under the pretext of helping out, want to see us succeed or prosper.

Your respectfully

Rudolph Singh

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