OPINION: The saga of Mr. Shell Mohamed

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 April 2023, 15:01 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

Recent media developments emphasized that Mr. Nazar ‘Shell’ Mohamed is taking the fight to new lengths to establish the reputation that he believes is rightly due to him.  First, Mr. Mohamed recruited the firm of a former Assistant Director of the America’s FBI to do some groundwork with the sole objective of banishing longstanding and ongoing “allegations” attached to his name.  The allegations cover a lot of territory, and have made him a character of murk and mystery, with significant might, too.  The second move by Mr. Mohamed has been to engage a public relations firm to push for him to be granted an American visa (Demerara Waves, April 12).  My thoughts follow.

Having publicized before my association with Mr. Mohamed, all that is left to state is that it has been official, professional, and steadfastly formal.  It would be a serious stretch to say that Mr. Mohamed and I are friends, have any kind of relationship, other than that of fellow citizens.  No more, no less, and absolutely nothing else in between.  I am sure that he sees matters in the same way.  Now, I venture into the two issues under review: reputation and visa issuance.  If nothing else, I think that Mr. Shell Mohamed would want and expect that I be forthright and honest, no matter the sensitivity of the subject at hand.

The man formerly from the upper elevations of the FBI did his legwork and groundwork.  His scope and scheme of work are his business, known only to himself.  This has special relevance, and a particular application regarding where he went and where he did not go, plus to whom he spoke, and to those that he did not.  At the very least, if his years in the FBI were of a minimum quality, then Mr. Mohamed would have received some value for his money.  What I think that Mr. Mohamed did get was helpful in the FBI man’s public issuance of a clean bill of health concerning his name and the history stubbornly affixed to it.  To present this in a different way, it certainly did not hurt him.  Now, I have some news for Mr. Mohamed, which should not be of the breaking category for him, and it follows this track.

I give an illustration, and since Mr. Mohamed now has oil as part of his expanding portfolio, there should be some appreciation of his situation and, as I must say, his predicament.  Exxon has established a record of funding experts, scientists, and others in research groups at illustrious universities to do work on climate change and the environment, and so forth.  The results (at least those that saw daylight) have been unanimously favorable regarding Exxon’s attitudes, approaches, and actions on areas and issues of dispute.  Instead of those investigations, conclusions and reports authoritatively closing down concerns and controversies, they only succeeded in giving them new life.  I think that this could be the boat in which Mr. Mohamed finds himself.  We know how Exxon is viewed in many quarters of standing, and how American courts have ruled time and again.  Suffice it to say that Exxon has looked less and less rosy with each new development.  For another point and parallel on this matter of clearances and the like, I recall how Philip Morris took care of its lethal tobacco business in the interests of self-protection, and how that company had to reengineer itself.  In sum, the lesson for Mr. Mohamed, which I will be bold enough to mention is that the sword is double-edged.  It can help and it can hurt.  The trouble is that either way, there is not enough closure.  Some answers along certain lines have been tabled to clear the air, but more than a few are still holding on to their questions.

On a different note, I hear of “allegations” leveled and now dealt with accordingly.  The question is who are the allegers?  The United States does not act on mere allegations alone, and it has a sufficiency of resources to pursue and exhaust its own explorations.  Would be interesting to know where the developments from the onetime FBI man leave things, how they change conclusions in American circles.  Also, it is no secret that Mr. Mohamed has been a friend of both the PPP and PNC in the most tangible ways.  Given how governments have operated in this country relative to the police, it would be astonishing if local law enforcement is the source of any “allegations” hostile to the interests of Mr. Mohamed.  Further, with the PPP and PNC in his corner, this effectively means that approximately 75% of Guyana’s population holds Mr. Mohamed in a better light than they do other citizens, including me.  So, who is left?  The commercial competition has weight, but not much reach, considering its own bottlenecks.  But there were those allegations, whatever they were/are, and now the former FBI man’s certificate of good standing.

Regarding, the hiring of a PR firm to lobby for a nonimmigrant American visa, this surprises.  He should know that an American visa is not an entitlement, but privilege, and discretionary consideration.  Nevertheless, I think that he has put the Americans in a bind.  Mr. Mohamed has ratcheted up the stakes in calculated fashion.  The US may have to share what it has on him.  Smoke or substance?  Mystery or reality?  Then again, one has to wonder what wheels are spinning behind the scenes in American heads.  That is, if they have decided that Mr. Nazar Mohamed is better on the inside, and on their side.  Remember that timeworn standard that never grows old: permanent interests.  Meaning, the Americans may have found that Mr. Shell Mohamed could be an asset of considerable use.  I remind one and all: this is not cinema.  It is real life with real people and real stories.  The saga continues.