The Global Witness report, “Signed Away,” which places under the microscope, the negotiations that took place between the Government and ExxonMobil for the Stabroek Block deal , will not influence the vote of more than a handful of people, if so many, at the General and Regional elections on March 2 says Presidential hopeful, Ralph Ramkarran.

The Leader of the A New and United Guyana (ANUG) made this comment in his most recent writings for his blog called, “Conversation Tree.”

The former Speaker of the National Assembly said that the main conclusion of Signed Away is that Guyana got a bad deal because it may not have been well represented in subsequent negotiations by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and his team. The report also suggests that Trotman presented Exxon with feeble negotiation terms and ignored expert advice that more financial information was needed before he signed the licence.

But in all fairness to Minister Trotman, Ramkarran reminded that Trotman has said on several occasions: “I am in a Cabinet of Ministers and before the contract was signed I was duly advised and duly instructed to sign it.”

But there is an important issue which Ramkarran believes, should not escape citizens’ attention. In this regard, he noted that Guyana’s ethnic-driven politics, and the more than half a century struggle for ethno-political dominance, have resulted in policy issues, whether of the important oil industry or otherwise, becoming secondary as to which race rules, “to put it crudely.”

Ramkarran contended that the main concern of most of Guyana’s two largest ethnic groups is who will eventually obtain the winning numbers on election day, to enable the domination of all political space for the next five years in a Westminster, majoritarian system, that promotes absolute rule, subject to the minor, formal, windows of opening provided to the Opposition by the Constitution and the National Assembly.

While the Global Witness report has been useful in providing more context to the oil debate, Ramkarran said one must not lose sight of the fact that Guyana’s politics is terribly flawed and therefore skews what should be deemed as important or not.

Further to this, Ramkarran said that Guyana needs to remodel or refashion its constitutional system of governance to create an effective democracy that contains and transcends the struggle for ethnic dominance and enables the full, creative, daily, expression of the will of the Guyanese people.

By the electorate expressing its will by elections and through other democratic means, without jeopardizing its community of shared, rather than, dominant interests by shared governance, Ramkarran posited that Guyana will have a more cohesive society capable of unitedly protecting the nations’ resources.


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