He commended Glenn Lall for media activism on oil
Those of us who study the social sciences or read about mass movements would be familiar with the rise of various social movements and ‘revolutions’ in the name of a just cause after a long period of human abuse. There are many examples around the world; there’s no need to mention any of them. Glenn Lall, publisher of Kaieteur News, is on to something that will, over time, grow into a mass movement. Glenn Lall and Chris Ram, the well-known lawyer, accountant, commentator, rights activist, who also writes on the broken oil contract, and frequently appears on Glenn’s radio program, are recognized as constant crusaders for the better oil contract. As I travel around the country to conduct an opinion poll on government performance on other issues, the duo are greeted and admired for revealing problems with the oil contracts that experts say would burden Guyana until eternity.
Glenn, popularly known as Chris, is fighting for a just (fair deal) contract for Guyana with the oil (energy) companies. Glenn’s message, in his announcement, radio talk show, and short video shared on social media, is slowly gaining attention. Glenn’s language, tone and demeanor are simple and the public easily identifies with his short video message and talk shows. But it hasn’t been getting much traction in the rural areas. That will come with time as more and more people pay attention to how they have been cheated by the oil companies and the previous regime. It’s only a matter of time before Glenn’s message of an unfair oil contract spreads to an organization.
Glenn has introduced a new element in social activism in Guyana – what I would call media activism on or about a social issue (or in this case an economic issue) that almost all Guyanese tend to consider injustice – it is the broken oil contract that is of great benefit. multinational companies at the expense of Guyana and the small, relatively depressed population. It does not campaign for revolutionary social change (like other social movements) although that may inevitably come with a mass movement given the amount of corruption uncovered about the previous regime. People’s anger over mass pollution and the oil contract may be boiling over to the streets. And it is not trying to overthrow a government. Instead, Glenn has directed the media focus on what everyone calls the unilateral oil (and gas) contract signed by the previous Guyana government with depredatory oil giants. Anyone (locally and internationally) familiar with the oil deal laughs at the way Guyana has been fooled by avid energy giant negotiators. I met foreign oil workers who laughed at Guyanese for the silly contracts they had negotiated. The oil companies are laughing all the way to the bank; a few Guyanese joining the oil giants also laugh all the way to the bank. The Guyana government did not seek expert advice from economists and oil experts and ended up signing an unjust agreement that severely disadvantaged Guyana. The public believes that corruption, blockages, and greed have got the nation into those oil contracts.
Those I have spoken to at cross country and in the diaspora applaud the work of Glenn Lall and KN on highlighting one side of the oil contract. They consider him a patriot and a nationalist who stands for Guyana on the issue of oil, the way few do and almost no politician. They say he comes across it in its programs and in its announcement as humble and genuinely concerned about how the country has been shaped by the oil producers. The public thanks him for his bravery in speaking out against the oil pollution in which figures (some given names) of the previous regime were embroidered.
Glenn is also praised by the public for promoting a righteous Guyanese oil and gas contract and a fair deal for Guyanese – an increase in royalty percentages and profits for Guyana, hiring more Guyanese in high-paying jobs including in management , and contract Guyanese or their companies. in providing goods and services to the oil producers. Guyanese are at the bottom of the pay scale and have virtually no role in oil management and receive a small proportion of contracts. (Mind you, it is not easy to break a contract signed by the previous regime that almost everyone describes as incompetent and inert when handling the oil negotiation. But aspects of the contract can be renegotiated to provide many more benefits to Guyana especially in local content, contracting Guyanese businesses, and hiring local employees). As lawyers and business persons point out, the current government has its hands tied to honoring the contract. The government says it is trying to get the oil companies to honor a local content agreement, but local commission laws, drafted by commission, have yet to be enacted.
The public urges Glenn (and Chris Ram) to continue to uncover the injustices of the oil contracts and to continue their quest for a just oil contract for the nation.