Commentary by Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Sun. May 26, 2024: Dear President Ali, On this day when Guyana marks its 58th year of independence, your steadfast support for the current oil contract with ExxonMobil, which you justify by the “sanctity of contracts” and fears that reneging could deter future investments, is nothing but worthless political nonsense.

The Guyana flag being raised at Bowling Green, NYC on May 24, 2024.

Respect for legitimate contracts is fundamental to international business and legal systems. It must never be a shield for perpetuating agreements that starkly disadvantage one party your own Guyana. The previous administration that approved this deal are either dangerously corrupt or fools – or probably both.

Attendees at the 2024 Guyana flag raising in NYC on May 24, 2024.

The notion of “sanctity of contracts” implies a mutual benefit derived under fair terms. The contract in question, as analyzed extensively, is outrageously unbalanced –  2% royalty on all petroleum produced and sold. However, ExxonMobil has been paying only 0.5%. This is not sanctity of contracts; this is blatant exploitation of your nation.

Contracts, especially those involving national resources and affecting the socio-economic fabric of a country, must be living documents characterized by fairness. The international precedent is rich with examples where countries have renegotiated contracts that no longer serve their interests or have been found unfair. Countries like Brazil, Ecuador, and even oil-rich nations in the Middle East have all renegotiated oil contracts to secure terms more favorable and equitable than those initially agreed upon.

The only legitimate path forward is for your administration to demand a renegotiation of the contract at the very least 50% for Guyana and 50% for Exxon. This is not just about securing more favorable financial terms but about asserting your sovereignty, and ensuring that the wealth derived from your natural resources serves the people of Guyana first and foremost. Show the world that Guyana respects the sanctity of contracts by insisting that this so called contract respect the sanctity of your nation’s future.

Guyana suffered bitterly for hundreds of years from Colonialism. You are perpetuating it in the 21st century if you do not demand better from Exxon.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Arthur Piccolo, the President of the Bowling Green Association of New York, delivered this letter as his remarks on May 24, 2024, during a flag raising to mark Guyana’s independence anniversary at Bowling Green, NY.

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