It is stupefying that Nedd thinks you need to be an expert to condemn the petroleum contract

Dear Editor,

Mr Justin Nedd, Chief Executive Offi-cer (CEO) of Guyana Telephone & Tele-graph Company (GTT), made the following comment at the launch of GTT’s Innov8 Technology Exhibition held at the Guyana Marriott Hotel on March 24th, 2018, as carried by Demerara News Online: “Very often in Guyana, and I have seen this several times, we have many experts but those experts – we really have to ask ourselves: are they really experts or do they have access to the web so they use that access and sometimes fool the masses?”

What a senseless and revealing

statement from the CEO of GTT, a company that is a subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Net-work Inc (ATNI), which like ExxonMobil, is listed on the United States stock exchange. In his capacity as CEO of GTT, Mr Nedd facilitated the launch of a web-based learning tool funded by his company, and concurrently condemned persons for using information from the “web” to provide information to the Guyanese people. This juxtaposition is backward, contradictory, and oxymoronic. Thus, while promoting 21st century information technology, Mr Nedd is simultaneously attempting to criticize persons who use 21st century information technology.

It is worth noting that Mr Nedd made his comments at GTT’s Innov8 Technology Exhibition, while he was in the company of Mr Gaskin, Minister of Business and Tourism and subject Minister of the Guyana Office for Investment, among other agencies. One can sense and sympathize with Nedd’s subjugation to the psychological affliction known as the ‘lemming effect’, or follow the leader in your midst.

Surmising at the Innov8 Technology Exhibition, Minister Gaskin, who is fast emerging as the new darling of Esso and the new face of the Government of Guyana and Esso to defend the rinky-dink petroleum agreement, Minister Gaskin referenced “the tiny vocal minority” who dared to publicly defend the illegal and unconscionable petroleum agreement, between Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and the Government of Guyana. Mr Gaskin has defended the Esso contract as the cat’s whiskers (the height of excellence), and as more beneficial than gold is to Guyana and Guyanese. If Mr Gaskin was giving a eulogy at a funeral, the Minister would likely find it appropriate to make negative comments about those who oppose EEPGL’s beggarly Petroleum Agreement with the Guyana Government. Can Minister Dominic Gaskin explain the term “tiny vocal minority” for the non-experts on Duckspeak? This is a phrase that seems to my non-Orwellian mind to have been sourced right out of the infamous Trump lexicon, as mastered and used by Ms Kellyanne Conway, Counsellor to President Trump, and Mr Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump’s former Communications Director.

I know of no university that offers A Degree in Identifying Experts. Amazingly, Nedd seems to have certified himself in this field. For the CEO to entertain the thought that one needs to be an expert to condemn a monumentally stupid petroleum contract is stupefying in itself. Contracts have long been associated with oppression and have been used currently and historically as a tool against the disadvantaged, be it in sports or business.

Maybe, the CEO of GTT will next enlighten Guyanese as to where certification can be obtained to enable you to identify an expert in the oil services field or gain certification on how to identify an expert in any other discipline. Before Mr Nedd walks down this extremely steep cliff, I encourage him to embrace the concept of using common sense by reading extracts from Dorothy Sayers masterpiece The Lost Tools of Learning: “That I, whose experience of teaching is extremely limited, should presume to discuss education is a matter, surely, that calls for no apology… Bishops air their opinions about economics; biologists, about metaphysics; inorganic chemists, about theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technical ministries… Too much specialization is not a good thing… Do you often come across people for whom, all their lives, a ‘subject’ remains a ‘subject,’ divided by watertight bulkheads from all other ‘subjects,’ so that they experience very great difficulty in making an immediate mental connection, between let us say, algebra and detective fiction, sewage disposal and the price of salmon ‒ or, more generally, between such spheres of knowledge as philosophy and economics, or chemistry and art?”

While Minister Dominic Gaskin seems beyond redemption in his hero worship of the EEPGL harsh Petroleum Agreement with the Government of Guyana, Mr Nedd should apologize to the young Guyanese present at the launch of Innov8 for misspeaking on the issue of how to learn. As Ms Sayers concludes, “The sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.”

Lastly, I have two questions for Mr Nedd: Is he a telecommunications and telegraph expert? Does knowing a whale is not a fish, or a bat is not a bird, make one an expert in biology? Guyanese born, Justin Nedd noted at the Innov8 summit that “Guyana is a beautiful place and we are on the verge of something big”. The extent of the bigness currently being denied to Guyana is what Mr Nedd needs to reflect on; and why it is essential that this Esso Petroleum Agreement that is psychologically damaging Guyanese, must be renegotiated and allow them to receive at least 10% of the royalties from the billions of barrels of proven and recoverable oil discovered in Guyana’s offshore territory.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Hinds

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