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Sunday 26 May 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Refining the 2018 Petrotrin decision

THE EDITOR: In enlightened societies, primordial wealth, such as mineral deposits, is treated reservedly, sacredly.

Firstly, future generations have more vested rights over their value. Secondly, real and sustainable economic independence is only achievable by long-term investment, following relevant thought.

Petrotrin is in trouble. It needs to be redirected. Speedily.

But the important consideration regarding the Petrotrin refinery decision can never be preserving the status quo, or inviting narrow, exclusive ownership of aboriginal bounties, or efficiency for efficiency’s sake.

The primary role of the Petrotrin investment has to be lifting current and future generations out of poverty, thus avoiding the Dutch disease.

The wrong decision can spawn huge burdens, some of which may back-burner the social costs wrought by the 1937 and 1947 oil strikes.

The right decision will engage citizens meaningfully and its jury panel wouldn’t include those minded to feather private nests at public expense, nor those who turn a blind eye while today’s sticky fingers chook out tomorrow’s.

This is why the grim urgency of Petrotrin 2018 demands quickfire discovery and downstreaming of unflinchingly long-term policies aimed at optimising the opportunities and moderating the risks of staying alive.

The Venezuela Dragon Field deal and partnership with Guyana have skyrocketed those opportunities. The risks are potentially titanic: whether these liaisons herald a sizeable GDP surge or irreversible economic and social fracture depends on the choices that entire society thoughtfully makes. So the best decision won’t flow unless everyone is properly drilled concerning the underlying factors.

Firstly, native citizens have the alienable right of accessing and evaluating all the reports platforming Petrotrin’s intended revamping.

Secondly, negotiations that, accidentally or wittingly, unfairly disadvantage future generations regarding their birthright must be opposed. Besides selling beneficiaries short, such negotiations rubbish the settled truth that no present generation may sinkhole the inalienable rights of future generations.

Transparency is not a cloistered virtue. Unfettered access to the entire process enables citizens to inform and influence said process. There must be no refinery decision unless we the people have all the pivotal facts.

Sans transparency, Petrotrin’s future is a dry hole.

Sans transparency, it would be impossible to answer whether any decision was questionably made.

Until a giant bulwark of informed citizens erupts, we the people will remain impotent and thoroughly unable to shape the thinking of the luminous directorate, or to be the balm that tamed the gathering storm. And no new normal will prevail.


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