ExxonMobil’s list of local suppliers is meaningless

Dear Editor,

The quality of data being released into the public sphere leaves a great deal to be desired. Is this a deliberate ploy or simply reflective of deeply embedded inadequacies? What, exactly, was the point of the quite ridiculous First Quarter Local Suppliers List released by the DPI on behalf of ExxonMobil? Are the authorities really satisfied with this information? Do the authorities or the energy giant really believe that it is adequate for the purposes of monitoring or systematic appraisal of the company’s local content obligations?

If ExxonMobil or one of its contractors purchased a packet of rubber bands from a local store, or a few cigarettes from a street vendor, would that have been sufficient to merit inclusion in the list? In the absence of any qualifiers, one must assume so. A list like this is meaningless. The average Guyanese household or small business could equally produce a list of 100 entities or individuals from whom they purchased goods or services over the course of three months. The average shopping trip to Bourda Market (cited on the list) would include at least half a dozen. For a larger business, a similar list would run into multiple hundreds. What, exactly, are we measuring here?

Yours faithfully,

Isabelle de Caires

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