This week’s announcement, of the scuttling of the Dragon Gas project and that TT will exploit its 2.7 tcf share of gas in the cross border Loran Manatee field, represents the worst foreign policy blunder in our history.
Even when Dr. Williams opposed the US on the Chaguaramas Base, or with the satellite dish, or with the Cuban embargo, he nuanced our foreign policy leaving enough wiggle room for future negotiations and enhanced relations.
Rowley needs to lower the temperature, deemphasize our support for Maduro, enhance significantly our relations with Guyana to our mutual benefit and, while maintaining our principles, prioritize a much more nuanced relation, as Williams did, with the US.
We are now literally in an ill-advised war of words with our largest trading partner from whom we import 28% of our goods and services and export 48% of what we produce.
We are in no position whatsoever to negotiate with the US for an exception on their sanctions against Venezuela to facilitate our pressing energy needs. In 2018 the Trump administration exempted for 6 months, 8 countries including China, Italy and Japan from Iran oil sanctions.
We are vulnerable given repeated acknowledgements in the US press, Senate, Congress and Executive on TT’s record on producing ISIS fighters.
Rowley’s administration has sided repeatedly and publicly with Maduro whose Government claims parts of Guyana now on the cusp of an energy bonanza. A future Guyanese Government may look askance at our well-publicized embrace of Maduro.
We have found ourselves at a dead end with Loran Manatee(LM), our main hope.
Successive TT Governments have failed despite major efforts to develop our cross border gas fields.
Why would Loran Manatee succeed now?
Which multinational will use its own resources (not ours) on Loran Manatee given Maduro’s record with private sector companies, his disregard of contracts, and the fact that the US and the EU have imposed sanctions on his Government?
Will SHELL be spending its own resources or ours? If the latter, is this the best use of our scarce foreign exchange?
Are we willing to spend billions of rapidly depleting foreign exchange on such a risky LM project?
What happens to the LM agreements/understandings/contracts with Maduro if he changes his mind, or if successive Venezuelan Governments deem them illegal?
Rowley was loathe to admit that there was a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela so they never developed a comprehensive refugee policy that was humane, based on best practices and recognized the limits of our absorptive capacity.
After nearly five years in Government Rowley cannot protect our borders, shamelessly blaming the lack of OPVs even though it cannot provide fuel and maintenance for our existing fleet of fast patrol vessels often times tied up at Staubles Bay.
The result? Anywhere between 16 to 90 thousand migrants/refugees/illegal immigrants in our midst- a significant minority of whom may be ex-prisoners.
Every aspect of our relations with Venezuela is in shambles, dead ends abound. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is as if we are witnessing the last days- a tsunami of incompetence. What is certain is that neither Rowley nor Moses can lead us out of bondage and into the promised land.
We need elections now.
MP for Naparima