Losing corn…

first_img…and huskIn our present circumstances, the “corn” is our oil and the husk is the “local content” and together, they represent how we— the people of Guyana— should be benefiting from those undersea gushers that are popping up faster than jumbie umbrellas. Well, we know for sure, we’ve already lost the corn. And your Eyewitness is still hopping mad that those responsible for boasting about us receiving 12.5% of the take on all that corn aren’t being fitted for orange jumpsuits. Especially when from our crumb, WE’VE got to pay the income tax on the profits that IOCs will be raking in!! If that isn’t rubbing salt into our wounds, then what is??Anyhow, as we’ve been harping away in this space, we still haven’t lost all the husk of “local content” as yet. But from the way this PNC Government has been going, unless something changes pretty quickly, that’ll soon be gone for channa. It’s obvious this Government hasn’t the foggiest idea of what “local content” is all about – so it’s not surprising that one IOC listed that buying cane juice and pine tarts from the vendor on the road is “local content”!!The fact of the matter is that the PNC had three years to start preparing for substantive benefits of local content and they haven’t done squat. Take that company that wanted to store chemicals for the FPSO at Houston but faced a firestorm of protests from local residents and decided to relocate “temporarily” to T&T. Any government worth its salt would’ve had experts advise it of all the ancillary activities that the offshore oil extraction demanded and worked with the business community to get ready since 2015. As the old folks say, “you cyaan wait ‘till yuh belly hu’t, fuh buil’ latrine”. Why are we only finding out now that the industry needs benzene, which must be readily available? We have a whole community in economic crisis over at Wales with huge swathes of land near a river; couldn’t the Government have created an industrial estate there to service the oil industry??Whatever happened to that US$500 million facility that Trotman was talking about on Crab Island?? Has the idea been ‘privatised’ to a few insiders who were granted all that land a few miles away at Bohemia?? Wouldn’t it have been best for the venture to be a PPP – Public Private Partnership!! – model so that local businessmen could’ve been guided up the technological ladder with the requisite skills imparted?? And couldn’t a couple of hundred scholarships been given to locals to pick up the requisite skills right over in T&T?So we wouldn’t be stuck with spreading grease at US$350/GY$70,000 a month?…but claiming benefitsYes…Guyana will only benefit from the funds that’ll flow from the 12.5% of the crude oil that we’ll get as our “share” and the “local content” benefits. But the Government is already hyping claims that we’ll become the richest country in this hemisphere on a “per capita” basis once the oil starts flowing. Now this is where you, dear reader, will have to pick sense from nonsense – and there’s a whole lotta nonsense floating around.But without getting involved with GDP vs GNP and all that jazz, we just have to follow the money. Take all that gold that was produced over the past decades in our country by those big foreign companies like Omai. Apart from the 5% royalty the Government collected and the wages that workers earned, did it improve YOUR per capita income?? Nope!! All that equipment was paid for overseas and all the profits were repatriated overseas. And it’ll be the same for oil.And even for the portion passed on to the Government – that was money for “the boys”.…and getting chickenfeedWhile corn may be used to feed chickens overseas, “chickenfeed” here is rise husk (“boosie”) and broken rice.So with our oil money going overseas to feed their fat cats, we should be happy with chickenfeed?Alast_img

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