OPINION: Welcoming Ambassador Nicole D. Theriot to Guyana

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 October 2023, 14:03 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

A warm welcome is extended to American Plenipotentiary Extraordinary and Ambassador to Guyana, Her Excellency, Nicole D. Theriot.  I am positive that, given her Louisiana roots, spicy Guyanese food should make Ambassador Theriot feel right at home.  Cajun country, this delightful tropical paradise and oil Shangri-la called Guyana is, Excellency.  Now I must get down to business.

The people hobnobbed with in government and their bedfellows may whisper insistently that I am anti-American.  The ambassador will have to decide for herself, while knowing full well that Americans anywhere do not quiver and shrivel before drivel.  American as apple pie, and gumbo (Louisiana again), speaking out and speaking to truth that is.  They will mumble that credentials are anti-Exxon, but of that am sure that Exxon Guyana’s President Routledge will shake his head in disagreement.  He, too, knows that he listens to Guyanese who fawn over him, and tell him what they think is pleasing to him, is not the optimal way to run this creole quarter.

To Ambassador Theriot, I respectfully say: America now has a bigger stake in Guyana: there is Exxon and there is Chevron, and if this duet sounds like the Chiffons of doowop fame, then that’s a sound beginning, Madame Ambassador.  It helps that Chevron is a lead player in Venezuelan oil.  Now, as for Venezuela, that is a fine kettle of hornets.  The kettle is buzzing and the hornets in Caracas are jumping up and down from the overheated state to which they have driven themselves. 

A cable to Southern Command by way of Foggy Bottom (State) and the Pentagon (Defense) and national Security could instruct Southern Command to rechart its courses, draw closer inside the Caribbean Sea.  The Venezuelans need to cool down, or they will have to be calmed down, whatever that requires.  Of course, Ambassador Theriot, and to refresh what Excellency Lynch and the prep boys at State with hemispheric responsibility had to have instilled, Guyana did take out insurance for just such a Venezuelan development (like today’s), and this country has been up to date on its premiums.  Two percent it has been, and though a king’s ransom, Guyana has paid through the nose for that insurance.  Humbly, Excellency Theriot (without the ‘t’ sounding), America has to deliver on its part of the grand bargain.

Look how much is at stake, Excellency.  There is Exxon, Chevron, Hess (still around, and don’t anyone forget it), Schlumberger, LindsayCa, Baker Hughes, American Airlines, Century 21, and Halliburton.  It just wouldn’t be good form to jeopardize all those presences and investments.  I would lose money (yessir! Sorry, I meant, ma’am).  Halliburton means Dick Cheney of Vulcan fame, retirement notwithstanding.

I have another word of quiet counsel for my fellow American: be watchful of Guyanese politicians.  If they can sellout their own country to Exxon and the Chinese, it can become a habit and prompt them to sellout to others.  On this business of the Chinese, this is another Cross to be carried.  Some believe that I am hostile to the Chinese.  Wrong!  I simply deplore the way in which they have done their business in Guyana, and this is with a focus on the Red Chinese pretending to be about green American dollars.  Yes, Excellency Theriot, the territory is that double-edged, double-tongued, and riddled with double dealing.  It is the French Quarter and Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

A raucous carnival and bacchanal are what has come to represent governance under the PPP in this place.  To emphasize, one ranking politician speaks many languages, but the grains of truth have proven exceedingly difficult to locate in any of them.  Another big dog speaks some things that resemble truth about oil and gas and governance on the whole, but one has to get pass the hedges, qualifiers, conditioners, to appreciate what the hell he is saying, and their relation to truth, justice, and the American Way.  I lost cool a bit there, so a word of apology is tendered for that descent into verbal purgatory.

In all of this, Excellency Theriot, Guyanese are getting upset, and the first and largest effigies they see are American ones.  Half the people are left out of their oil patrimony, and more than that fraction are food bank candidates.  Yeah, the posting has its dark side, outside of hot rum and spicy turkey.  To be safe, I make that poultry.  But it is not all magnolia and mint juleps and Southern Comfort.  For the reassurance of Ambassador Theriot, Guyanese are not thinking nor speaking like Nat Turner nor Malcolm X, but take it from me, there are notes sounding of Ugly Americans.  Guyanese are muttering about Yankee Dracula in Demerara: it is of the male political brides that are favored, and those left to scramble around, or get out of the way.  I am trying to say this in French, but am positive that Ambassador Theriot understand the English employed.

If Excellency Nicole D. Theriot is advised by her subordinates and Guyanese supplicants that I am wrong, and out of my head, I offer this parting guidance.  Please check the face of her predecessor, Excellency Sarah Ann Lynch, and compare that to when she left versus the short years before when she first arrived.  Guyana is an asylum run by lunatics, of that Madame Lynch could amply testify.  So can I.  Good luck with the Guyana assignment, Ambassador Nicole Theriot.