Gov’t has treated press contemptuously in relation to visit by US congressmen

Dear Editor,

Even amidst the flurry of social media posts yesterday (22nd August, 2018) about the aftershock tremor that hit Guyana around 9:30 am, it was hard to miss the rumble that came from Denis Scott Chabrol on his facebook page.

Mr Chabrol and other members of the media were barred from questioning the visiting American Congressmen and given restrictions about the content that they could publish. Any time that the press is treated contemptuously in this country, it is an act of contempt against the people of this nation and an assault on democracy. This current government has repeatedly disrespected the press, and the public keeps overlooking it. However, this occasion is the clearest statement yet that we have a leadership crisis at the highest level of Government. The Government of Guyana is so impressed with a small visit to Guyana by a few US lawmakers; it values the interests and concerns of American Congressmen over and above the interests and rights of Guyanese citizens so much that it would kick its own press. The behaviour of the Government of Guyana is nothing short of pathetic and disgraceful. The people of this nation need no further evidence that the country is being run by a set of individuals who are cosy with ‘secrecy’, ‘wheeling and dealing’ and not at all knowledgeable nor comfortable with statesmanship and professional negotiations. We need no further evidence that the Granger-led administration is incapable of negotiating with Oil Companies nor can they adequately represent the Guyanese people. Mr Chabrol expressed shock and disbelief: “To think that Guyanese elected officials, with some media background, will be co-conspirators in this scheme of neo-colonialism is heart-wrenching.”

Let us be clear that no American Congressman disrespected the people of this nation. The contempt came from our own spineless Government. Well, Governments come and governments go, but the people of the country remain. We have in office a set of individuals who have behaved, from the onset, as if they have no need for the people of this nation, as if they are in power forever. They have disappointed their supporters from their earliest days in office and now they are failing the entire nation as they are showing ever so clearly their lack of self-respect in their deep starry-eyed reverence for ExxonMobil and the US Government officials. The Government may be weak and may have no self-respect and no self-confidence, but they do not represent the rest of us in this nation.

The sad consequence of this weakness of the current administration is that it is setting a precedent for how oil companies will negotiate with our nation.

The time has come, for each and every one of us Guyanese citizens to understand that there is substantial oil and gas resources within our boundaries. We know about Iraq and Libya and other oil rich nations. As Denis Chabrol expressed it, he was ‘Smelling POO (Power of Oil).’ Well, we are now faced with the POO and, as a nation, we need to deal with it condignly. And it needs not have a disastrous outcome. It is critically important that we get this right. There needs to be a U-turn in the Government of Guyana’s pathetic attitude to dealing with our oil and gas resources. This will only come about if the people demand it. A government with a dictatorial attitude that does not listen to the will of the people will have to be voted out of office.

Yours faithfully,

Sandra Khan 


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