A patient with cancer would want an experienced world class oncologist to give the diagnosis and prescribe the treatment. For a life changing event, one wouldn’t fire the oncologist in the middle of their assessment and then seek advice from a replacement with much less qualifications and experience. But it appears the Government of Guyana has done just that in forcing the Environmental Protection Agency Head Dr Vincent Adams to take his vacation at a critical period in the assessment of the Stabroek Block oil operations.
Dr Adams has stood his ground and was not intimidated by the oil companies. He has pursued them on even minor fines for environmental spills which they have refused to pay. He indicated he was working on the loopholes in the Liza-1 permit. The Liza-1 permit was approved in 2017 before Dr Adams began his contract with the Government of Guyana in 2018.
The oil companies have already ignited more than 10 billion cubic feet of gas from Liza-1 which is estimated to cost at least US$24 million to offset the resulting emissions. These same companies that preach sanctity of contracts to us, couldn’t keep their promise to stop the flaring by August 10th. It is about 2 weeks now since August the 10th and they are unable to give a new date of when the flaring will stop. We need strong leadership like that demonstrated by Dr Adams to protect Guyana from being exploited by the oil companies in their pursuit of shareholder profits.
Dr Adams has 30 years of experience in the US Department of Energy with key leadership roles ranging from nuclear to environmental. He earned his PhD from the University of Tennessee. If we reject our best, how can we escape the resource curse?