Why is Janki so opposed to the ExxonMobil deal?

Dear Editor,

 Among the loudest critics of Guyana’s partnership with Exxon is the group A Fair Deal for Guyana. This environmentally-focused group is a subset of A Fair Deal for the Planet and has a predetermined bias against any oil and gas development, so it’s no wonder they’ve been campaigning against the project. 

But their efforts to stop oil production doesn’t come from any concern for the wellbeing of our country. Do they care that a renegotiation could delay the project, and therefore revenues, that Guyana badly needs? No. Do they realize that contract sanctity is one of the key traits that other international investors will consider when looking at Guyana? Of course not. For them, Guyana is just another political point to score in a battle of ideologies. 

But the saddest part of all is that local activists are getting involved. These people are from Guyana – they should care about the real impact that oil revenues, or a lack of oil revenues, will have on our country. So who are these people, and why are they getting in on the action?

 A key name, as we all know, is Melinda Janki. As a lawyer, Melinda has been a huge critic of the environmental permits awarded to Exxon and its partners for the work to be done offshore. Melinda claims that all three partners involved in Exxon’s work should be required to have environmental permits to operate, despite the fact that Exxon is the only actual operator. The other two partners are only financial partners. The sheer ridiculousness of this claim reveals it for what it really is – an attempt to turn personal bias into a roadblock for oil development in Guyana. Nevermind the fact that the revenues from development could make a real positive impact in our country.

 She clearly considers herself a champion of environmental justice and a warrior against climate change. Melinda has taken every opportunity to paint oil production in a bad light.

Which leads me to ask the question – why is Janki so opposed to energy development? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she used to be a lawyer for ExxonMobil’s subsidiary herself?

 That’s right! Janki used to represent the interest of the company she is now attacking so aggressively. Not only that, she also used to work at British Petroleum, the multinational corporation responsible for the Gulf oil spill. It seems that she worked on matters relating to international financing and production. Pot calling the kettle black?

Clearly, this past experience is part of the motivation for her criticism of the contract in Guyana. Did she become disgusted with big oil companies while she worked there?

Janki, and other anti-oil development activists, are loudly questioning the Exxon permit. Maybe it’s time someone started questioning their motives as well.

Yours faithfully,

Clement Smith

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