Oil is a pain on the brain

Dear Editor,

If I hear of or read one more word about oil I am liable to commit a capital offence.  Mark my words: just another word.  Forget about screaming bloody murder, it just might come to pass (at least figuratively).  Already oil has become a pain on the brain.  There is oil in the air and oil in the ear and hair.  Guyanese cannot see straight anymore; in fact, they cannot see anything anymore, but oil.

As I read matters, oil is the answer to ease present and future pain; it is serving invisibly, intangibly, and imperceptibly as both balm and Novocain, and without a drop applied as yet.  This is miracle drug and elixir; the cure for cancer; the salve that reverses the ravages of age.  This is better than the old Canadian Healing Oil.  I am surprised that in true fracking fashion citizens have not started to dig up their backyards and under the swimming pools in search of this enchanting mesmerizing black gold, given the craze (and crazies) sweeping this now great glorious oil patch called Guyana.

It has been one continuous drum roll of syncopation and rhythm, with the thunder of crescendos along with the occasional finely textured glissando thrown in for smooth intricate balance.  There is the mighty Guyanese village ram articulating, pontificating, and shepherding about…well, what else if not oil.  There is the evergreen, everlasting, ever ready Thomas, who does not have a doubt in the world as to the logistics, statistics, or theatrics surrounding oil, or the complexities and challenges of the liquid gold lying placidly underwater.  Lucas has lit up the place with a word or two on occasion.  And so did yours truly almost a year ago to the tune of a 4-part series (might have been 6) for the Catholic Standard.  It was not catechism focused on lampstands or wineskins, but on this new salvific force called oil.  Everybody is an expert (I aint tekking leff).  It has been one gusher of words after another.  I am willing to wager that more words per capita have been written and showered upon this nation on oil than on any other issue.  There is the promise of more heavy spills and more verbal wells overflowing into the public domain and consciousness.  I mean, Daniel Yergin would be put to shame.

Along these early days of this long and winding way, this society has transformed overnight, it seems, from the primaeval swamp of coconut oil and castor oil to crude oil.  And whether light sweet crude or the more sulfurous blends (almost in rum territory now), it is still one huge belly wuk.  What a country!  What a society!

There is the man of the moment, quite frankly many moments, if not every moment.  That would be none other than the Hon RGC Trotman, Guyana’s oil minister.  I am nominating him for the Guinness Book of World Records (Guyanese Records will do just fine) for recognition in not one, but several categories.  Minister Trotman has to be the most photographed, most quoted, most written about, most questioned, and most critiqued politician (and Guyanese) in living memory.  My memory is very long.  The man is anywhere and everywhere, and all at the same time.  Call it the scintillating sheen of oil; the reflection is so blinding that it reduces citizens to seeing things.

It is said that Jesus walked on water.  Forget about that!  Mr Trotman has made that look like amateur hour.  He walks, floats, and even skis on oil.  Now since this is a relentlessly scorching land, I am going to have to ask him the next time, how he pulls that last one off.  That is, skiing on oil and in the heat, too.  In view of his near nonstop media exposure and conditioning I am certain that he will present a persuasive answer, without any viscosity attached.  I suggest special broadcast legislation aimed specifically at him.  Regardless, the man has gotten so good, that I can only ascribe all of this to the perspicacity of petroleum power.  If that long ago immortal Middle Eastern character, Sheik Ahmed Zaki Yamani, was still around, his Guyanese equivalent RGC Trotman would have left him choking on the sands of the Sahara.

Editor, as I said at the start, if I come across another word about oil it will have to be, ‘Get my hat ʼn gimme my coat!  I’m leaving.’  Just to be sure that there is as much distance between myself and here, I thought initially about migrating to either Iraq or Afghanistan, since both are less fraught with the dangers of civil demagoguery (oxymoron?) on oil.  Then I remembered that Iraq is loaded with the stuff.  I guess it is the fabled Khyber Pass for the likes of me.  Maybe I will find religion.  Hopefully, it will be centred on manna from heaven and not oil from below the ground or below the sea.

Please let there be light: let there be no more on oil.  Let it be about West Indies cricket.  On second thoughts, better stay with the other stuff.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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