Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2022, 7:08 by Denis Chabrol
by GHK Lall
I leaned back on reading that July 24th Demerara Waves caption “US govt invites Ali, Jagdeo to meet with Secretary of State, Congressional leaders.” “Invites” is putting this development nicely, and with careful regard for the dignity of this nation’s two top leaders. I commend Demerara Waves for going out of the way with this exercise in politeness, but must insist that it is the wrong verb in the situation, and totally off the reservation.
The President and Vice President of Guyana were not ‘invited’ by the U.S. Government. Both of them were summoned, as in commanded to turn up in the shortest possible time in Washington. On this occasion, that meant get over here immediately. It is not a red-carpet reception in mind for the two local travelers, who had to be wondering (and sweating profusely) as to what was up for such urgency to come about almost overnight literally. I say overnight because nobody ever heard of this as part of a scheduled visit planned for this month; and I don’t think that either the President or Vice President saw this so-called invitation coming. The American Ambassador did not appear to have given them any notice.
I am not surprised given the veiled warning language that Her Excellency, the U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, has seen fit to employ in her official and public communications repeatedly. Her words and postures have been insistent: transparency and inclusion at the top of the heap, and some business that covers procurement and benefits for all locals from this country’s new oil wealth. The State Department has to have the coded cables from her and her senior people as to what is really happening here and the implications of those (to be returned to later). Of course, it didn’t help at all that the Chinese threw that monkey into the mix that goes under the name of money laundering. This is trouble upon crisis that threatens a catastrophe. That is, for the same two Guyanese leaders now compelled to hurry over to Washington, DC in answer to an imperial call to show up. It was the equivalent of show up or else….
It is a nice cover story to have as part of the waiting reception committee those United States Congressmen who have been very vocal in highlighting the woes of Afro Guyanese, and the ugly nature of the now chronic discriminations meted against them in an array of public service areas, which touches on jobs, contract awards, and participation in the Guyana oil bonanza, among other things. One of the other crucial areas of concern has to be the suspicious killings by agents of the State of African Guyanese civilians.
As much as the agenda on the American side is long and alarming, I still have not gone anywhere near to what is the biggest concern for the Yanks. Before going further, I must make clear that it is my strong belief that the two PPP Government leaders (and delegation) were not allowed the courtesy and luxury of their own agenda and its priorities. This is how one-sided this gathering was planned all along. It is really a sit down for a dressing down. It should be clear by now where I stand with that piece of officialese that tried valiantly to convey something about “bilateral.” There is nothing bilateral about the gatherings or conversations. Our guys are going to be handed their heads on a platter and then hauled over the coals. It is now the proper time to visit what is most important to America’s heart.
In the plainest language, the Americans summoned Guyana’s President and Vice President to make it clear that they are in power, and will only remain in power, as long as the interests of Exxon are protected. Nothing and no one, no group, must be allowed to gain sufficient traction to pose a menace to the giant American oil presence here. If ostracizing and marginalizing the Afro Guyanese section of the population, the PNC base, is developing to a worrying degree of restlessness, then the President and Vice President have to get off their thrones and comfort zone and fix the problem. So, we are right back to what the U.S. Ambassador has made one of the centerpieces of her public presentations, which is that dirty word (to the PPP) inclusion. If the peace and stability of Guyana is coming under stress, then the United States is most interested in those stress points being addresses, as in diffused. This is where the rubber meets the road, and all roads terminate. In a word, it is Exxon! Exxon! Exxon! And both of them better not forget any of that. Do whatever it takes. Be up to the job and deliver, even if lines have to be crossed.
The unspoken two-way street of understanding is best summed up in this taut manner: we are responsible for putting the PPP back in power. And we can just as surely put the PPP right back out of power in the blink of an eye, and just like that, no kidding. In a nutshell, that is what this midnight flight to Washington s is all about, and of that let there be no mistake.
To close this out, and to make sure that the two humbled Guyanese leaders know who really is boss, and this is not the bush leagues of Guyana. The Americans may lay it on the table (get cute) with any support for Guyana at the ICJ in its border controversy with neighboring Venezuela. And last, the Guyanese delegation will be thrown some bone about meager assistance here and there to keep up appearances with this farce about “bilateral” talks, and give them something to boast about on returning back to the boondocks of Guyana.