The coinage Stockholm syndrome originated in Sweden in 1973 when four hostages were taken during a bank robbery in Stockholm, Sweden. The hostages defended their captors after being released and would not agree to testify in court against them; instead, they began raising money for their defense! (Clark Olofsson, one of the gunmen, later dated hostage Kristin Enmark several times, and their families became friends!) Such paradoxical behavior now permeates the land of many waters as Guyanese have been robbed of a colossal sum through the clumsy failure of the country’s leaders (past and present) to complete the audit of EXXON’s pre –contract Lisa 1 & Lisa 2 deductible expenses. US$9.5 Billion is indeed an enormous sum to be paid by Guyanese.
It’s déjà vu time. Nothing new here as Guyana has journeyed from Independence to Irfan through questionable purchases and outright failed projects. For decades billions of dollars have been wasted on technological white elephants like the Yarrokabra Glass Factory, Skeldon Sugar Factory, Amalia Falls Hydro, Durban Park Stadium, a Drug Storage Bond and ill-fated programs like the National Service and ‘One laptop per family’. The sheer insipience of the current and past leaders, surrounded by their respective claque, continues to make Guyana a comical nation, the laughing clown of the Caribbean and the world. Co-operative Republic, Feed Clothe and House by 1976, Cotton comes to Kimbia, were Burnham’s clarion call to fame; sadly they all ended up, in the junk yard! Similarly, the Marriot Hotel (which construction has never been audited) and Specialty Hospital have all become failed endeavors. Surendra Contracting walked off with over US$200 million taxpayers’ money.
Exxon, a global multinational oil power of a century standing, did not hesitate to smartly cover up over US$90 million in prior expenses that the present self-anointed oil overseer blasted the Coalition for not auditing yet turns a back somersault and does the same. Here is hypocrisy at its zenith yet voices of objections have been sporadic and feeble, as if such colossal incompetence, bordering on outright swindle, is acceptable. Guyanese are guilty by silence and so the Stockholm syndrome has made a case to be married with the Guyana Syndrome.
The operators at Exxon are generally sleazy and tricky, which they have demonstrated globally, when they are dealing with colored and non-white people. This is how the descendants of the slave masters, the Massa hierarchy, today enslave Guyanese for our oil. So barbaric, but well crafted, the contract gave us a paltry two percent and a measly US$18 million and a lousy 50/50 deal for the rich oil beneath our seabed. All the rest was greedily grabbed, with our leaders helping them. If only 10% of EXXON’s costs was inflated then each Guyanese would be richer by over $250,000 (0.95 Billion / population). What a country! Imagine in this day, in order to get adequate, potable water homeowners have to erect storage facilities — trestles with accompanying black tanks and pumps and plumbing. Seems in order to get milk you have to own your own cow.
Now all must aware of energy and speed with associated shady sojourn for dubious projects, such as the resurrected Amalia Falls Hydro and the secretive Wales Gas-to-Shore undertaking. We can expect more waste in the Rice Republic where the power brokers display meager concern for the People coupled with pitiful Progress but a great hurrah for the Party. In Orwellian newspeak (Animal Farm) the overriding theme of governance seems to be: all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
The evidence is before us: Guyana’s political leaders have been scheming and conspiring with Exxon and others to rob this country blind. So now a double Stockholm syndrome. Can Guyanese trust these players who have a constancy of clumsiness, a litany of failed projects and massive cost overruns with Amalia Falls and Gas to shore? This situation calls for serious reforms and criminal investigations of misconduct of all officials, mainly the Min. of Natural Resources, whose job was to perform such a crucial audit. Come on President Ali you can make much needed improvements — you have the guts.
Leyland Chitlall Roopnaraine