June 27, 2017

Creolese

Satiricus was pleased. He’d just read that some very educated person named “Came Bridge” – who used to write a fancy column in the Kronic – was part of a project to teach Creolese at UG. This was good news for the country, and he couldn’t wait to get over to the Back Street Bar. The fellas were already ensconced at the back table. They had to have been there for a while, since the table was already forested by beer empties.

“How come you fellas started so early?” he asked Bungi – who was signalling furiously at the waitress to bring a beer for Satiricus.

“Early?” slurred Bungi. “Like yuh fuget me get lay aff since de guvment close dung de suga fact’ry!”

“I didn’t forget,” replied Satiricus. “But I didn’t think you and Hari would’ve been here throwing back so early!”

“I took the day off,” reported Hari with a big goofy grin. “Too much rain!!”

“Anyhow, Bungi, I have some good news for you,” said Satiricus as he polished off the beer with one practised long gurgle, and signalled with his left hand to the waitress for another.

“Wah da?” asked Bungi. “Me ole paadna Cappo come back fram New Yaa’k, or dem a open back de fact’ry?

“Better than that, ole friend!” said Satiricus as he picked up his second beer and slapped the table. “I have a job opening for you and your cane cutter friends. You will be working in air conditioning!”

“Really, Sato?” asked Hari. “Janitors at the new Call Centre?

“Naah!” smirked Satiricus. “Teaching at UG!!”

“A wah wrang wid yuh head, Bai?!” exclaimed Bungi. “Wah rass me guh teach? How fuh sha’pen cutlass?”

“You cane-cutters will be teaching the 8000 UG students “Creolese”,” said Satiricus gleefully. “That’s what you speak, and it’s now a compulsory subject!!”

“Jeez!” smiled Bungi bashfully, “An’ me na even bin know me ah talk wan nadda lang-wij name “Creolese” all dis time!!”

Baigan seeds

Satiricus didn’t mind the rain. While he remembered his old primary school rhyme on the hurricane season claimed “June – too soon”, he wasn’t surprised Guyana was getting a drenching from Bret. The fellas had a fall-back plan which never failed them – to retire into the maws of the Back Street Bar. So that’s where they were, recovering from their enforced Father’s Day sabbatical!

 “Suh wha’ guh aan wid yuh guv’ment, Sato?” Bungi said as he leaned over the table to he heard over the rain on the roof.

 “What you mean?” replied Satiricus with feigned innocence.

 “Na play schupid wid me, bai,” Bungi retorted. “Yuh know damn well ah talkin’ ’bout how dem chrow out Roop Na Rain!”

“Not his problem, Bungi!” butted in Hari, with a wide smile. “Nagga Man and Rum Jhaat, still in place!”

 “That’s right, old friend,” Satiricus said. “My leaders in the KFC are still VP’s you know!”

“Dem a “VP” a’rite – Very Pathetic!!” sniggered Bungi. At the surprised looks from his friends, he added with a blush, “Me l’arn da fram me da’ta!”

 “I’m impressed!” confessed Hari.

 “What you mean by that?” asked Satiricus – with some heat, this time.

“Well, at leas’ de WAPA fella dem mek some naise w’en Prezzie put de lash pan Roop Na Rain,” answered Bungi. “Wha’ Nagga Man an’ Rum Jhaat do w’en Prezzie pull out all dem teet’?”

 “Bungi, that’s not fair!” complained Satiricus. “My leaders are still holding the jobs they were promised!”

“Fram wah me a see” replied Bungi. “Dem GET Larwah and dem a still hol’ Larwah!!”

 “Don’t answer that, Sato,” said Hari placatingly. “But why don’t you suggest to Nagga man and Rum Jhaat to also meet Prezzie?”

 “Yeah!” chortled Bungi. “Den abee guh see who gat mo’ seed dan baigan!”

GeCome or GeGone?

Dear Diary,

Dis is High-in-the-Field, and I tell you, dear diary, I enjoying dis questioning. I just came back from dis PacMan Committee who checkin’ out how we spend de money we get at GeCome. Like dey forget I is an ole army officer and was trained to not break down under interrogation! I also train in misdirection, since dat is a basic military manoeuvre.

Remember when de Auditor Marshall tell me to explain how come we buy $100M worth of radio equipment – but never used them? Well, how de arse I could use dem when none of dem ever wuk? Anyhow, I tell he dat I does report to de Pacman Committee, not to he.

And when de PacMan people ask me about de $100M radios, I tell dem de Auditor Marshall checking into dat!! And dey fell for it!!

Den dey ask me why I bruk up de 8 contracts for paper and ink all less dan $15M! Dear Diary, imagine they ask me why I didn’t send the whole $90M contract to Cabinet? They think Cabinet woulda done things different? They crack me up!!

I just did it like dat because in de army we learn that those officers above us must always have “deniability”!!

And deh had this nonsense about dat $6000 pliers. Schuups! Do dey think an ordinary pliers can open dose ballot boxes to slip fake SOPs into dem?  We need de right tools for our job!!

But, Dear Diary, I am surprised de Opposition wasting all their time submitting lists for the GeCome Chair. Dat Chair already fixed!! And really, it just doesn’t matter.

Dey just appoint me to be in charge for another three years. Till 2020, Dear Diary. An’ I still got my special pliers!!

GeGone!!

Shafted again…

…on oil royalties

So, finally, we have some details on how we’re to be raped in regard to the oil revenues from ExxonMobil through the ineptitude of Raphael Trotman, who snagged the Natural Resources’ portfolio only because of the “Nassau Accord”.

From the word go, your Eyewitness has been emphasising that the only way Guyana would get its fair share of the oil that’ll be pumped out and gone forever is to begin with ROYALTIES.

 Royalties come off the TOP; that is, as a percentage of the total revenues garnered on sales BEFORE anything is deducted. Exxon pumps, say, 1000 barrels per day and the price is US$50/barrel, the royalty will be calculated on US$50,000. We pointed out that Uganda, which were recommended to help us with preparations for our oil regime, had negotiated a 15% royalty on their oil. In comparison, Malaysia had a 10% and Nigeria 8%. So what did this genius Trotman negotiate?? 2%!!!!

Right away Guyanese should know something stinks to high heaven with the man who introduced the term “political investment” into our political lexicon. Why else would he shaft Guyana like this?? His excuse was the 1999 exploration agreement the PPP had signed specified a 1% royalty. Well…DUH!!! We already pointed out that THAT contract was signed when no one knew Guyana REALLY had oil. It was a shot in the dark. The oil exploration companies were in a stronger position with them taking the risks and not knowing whether they’ll strike oil.

 Trotman negotiated his deal with Exxon AFTER it was CONFIRMED there were at least 1.5billion barrels of oil sloshing around under our sea bed!! GUYANA was now in a stronger position. Especially since Exxon had walked away from its Canadian Tar Sands reserves and was barred from exploring its Arctic reserves. Ours was the biggest oil find in all of 2016 — not only for Exxon!!

 So where does this leave us? As you, Dear Readers, would know, your Eyewitness predicted two years ago that $50 oil will be the new average. He’s explained why ad nauseam. With Trotman’s 2% royalty, after we collect US$1000 royalty, (we hope he had the sense to specify, MONTHLY!) Exxon could’ve taken UP TO 75% of the revenues — after deducting royalties — as “cost oil”; that is, to cover its exploration costs and present production costs. Did Trotman negotiate this down to a fixed 50% as your Eyewitness suggested?

 If, as expected, he did not, we then split the “profits” — of 25% or US$12,250 — down the middle. We end up with an additional US$6,125/barrel.

 Instead, we get peanuts, thanks to a venal Trotman.

…on other oil fronts?

The other question Trotman should answer is: Will we get a bonus from Exxon for signing the contract? While this is usually small – around US$2M — every dollar counts TODAY. And another thing: Which accounting firms will be checking Exxon as to what they’ll be inflating? And inflate they will — as expended expenses to boost their share of the oil as “cost oil”!! Trotman should now realise why Exxon doesn’t skimp on accountants.

Did he also forbid Exxon from claiming expenses for hiring lawyers etc — in the event of litigation, as “employment costs”?? If he didn’t — and your Eyewitness bet he didn’t — then these’ll go into “cost oil,” and we end up paying for THEIR lawyers! But, most importantly, did he insist that Exxon should pay the Guyanese corporate income tax of 27.5%??

See, your Eyewitness is very fair; he didn’t insist on the “commercial” income tax rate of 40%!

 But was Trotman fair to us?

…on Guyana’s share

Trotman’s been flacking for Exxon by emphasizing that “Guyana will get 50% of profits”. For the average Guyanese, this sounds “fair”; but, as revealed above — and that was merely scratching the surface — the Devil’s in the details.

And those details are still secret!

Business sense

Dear Diary,

This is Gas Skin. No…no…no! NOT Ram Own Gas Skin. Please, Dear Diary, don’t keep confusing me with that loudmouth. I am the quiet Gas Skin. I just came back from England trying to drum up some foreign Guyanese to invest back home.

It was not as exciting as I thought it would have been. I didn’t get to see the Queen – even though I did see the Guards in their snazzy Red Costumes guarding Buckingham Palace.

I didn’t bother to bring up with the Guyanese they could lobby to remove the British ban on our greenheart – which has destroyed our forestry sector. Nah…I told them about us conserving our rainforests and wetlands and suchlike. We may starve…but we love our forests and if we die, we will die protecting them.

I told our brothers in England (NOT “the brothers”, Dear Diary. Please. I am not that riff raff Gas Skin) that while there is poverty, inequality, poor health care and education in Guyana, we are not unique. What do they think caused the Manchester bombing??

I also told them how much better off we were than Venezuela and Brazil that have all kinds of problems – including bombings. But I told them also we will get rich from building that road to Brazil so we can ship their goods. If their problems go away.

But Dear Diary, I don’t really think we will get much business from Britain. Didn’t they do a Brexit from us before that Brexit from Europe? Only we call it “independence”. You can’t trust them.

But I just figured a way to solve our business problems. When I left Timehri, I saw hundreds of Cubans shipping huge bundles of goods by plane. They buy it from the Chinese businesses.

 All we have to do is start collecting duties and VAT from them!!

Business sense

Dear Diary,

This is Gas Skin. No…no…no! NOT Ram Own Gas Skin. Please, Dear Diary, don’t keep confusing me with that loudmouth. I am the quiet Gas Skin. I just came back from England trying to drum up some foreign Guyanese to invest back home.

It was not as exciting as I thought it would have been. I didn’t get to see the Queen – even though I did see the Guards in their snazzy Red Costumes guarding Buckingham Palace.

 I didn’t bother to bring up with the Guyanese they could lobby to remove the British ban on our greenheart – which has destroyed our forestry sector. Nah…I told them about us conserving our rainforests and wetlands and suchlike. We may starve…but we love our forests and if we die, we will die protecting them.

I told our brothers in England (NOT “the brothers”, Dear Diary. Please. I am not that riff raff Gas Skin) that while there is poverty, inequality, poor health care and education in Guyana, we are not unique. What do they think caused the Manchester bombing??

I also told them how much better off we were than Venezuela and Brazil that have all kinds of problems – including bombings. But I told them also we will get rich from building that road to Brazil so we can ship their goods. If their problems go away.

But Dear Diary, I don’t really think we will get much business from Britain. Didn’t they do a Brexit from us before that Brexit from Europe? Only we call it “independence”. You can’t trust them.

 But I just figured a way to solve our business problems. When I left Timehri, I saw hundreds of Cubans shipping huge bundles of goods by plane. They buy it from the Chinese businesses.

 All we have to do is start collecting duties and VAT from them!!

“Extractive Sector”

Dear Diary,

This is Trotty again. I know I only wrote to you this morning but this job to run the “Extractive Sector” is very stressful. It’s almost as stressful as dealing with Nagga Man and Rum Jhaat. I thought when I rigged the Vreed-en-Hoop election and dumped those two losers, I’d be on easy street. They were whining all the time because they thought they’d be given some real power!! Little did they know the Nassau Accord trumped the Coming Bug Accord!!

It was so much easier when I was in charge of “Governance”. First of all, half the fun was knowing the job had been promised to Nagga Man!! All I had to do was pass on Prezzie’s orders to Ministers like Rum Jhaat. But Har Min wanted to be the Big Man In Cabinet (BMIC) and said you can’t have two Man Crab in one hole. Have you seen him Dear Diary? That is one, mean looking Man Crab!! I wasn’t about to argue with him.

 So they sent me to “Extractive Sector”. They asked me if I had experience in that area, Dear Diary…and of course I said, “Yes!” Look how much I had extracted from businessmen during the campaign, when I told them about making “political investments”. That was like the gift that kept on giving, Dear Diary, because now I can give them dividends in my new job – which I discovered had to do with digging minerals and stuff from beneath the soil.

But I don’t have time to scratch my bald head, Dear Diary. First they sent me to Paris to handle COP 21. I was happy because I thought I was going to deal with policing matters, and taking that away from Rum Jhaat! But then I found out it had to do with climate change? What the heck Climate had to do with “Extractive Sector”?? Nobody wanted to make “political investments” in that.

But now that X-on found oil, I have to accept “political Investments” all day long. It’s not easy to keep track to give dividends, Dear Diary.

Arrival of identity

Dear Diary,

Ah me, Nagga Man, again. Me feel real good, an’ me na even tek wan drink yet; me guh wait till ten a’clack today. And na beca’se a wan laang weekend me feel good; ah beca’se me come home, Dear Diary. Yes, me come home!!

 Eva since Rum Jhaat aks me fuh jine up wid Pee-an’-See, me bin t’ink me gat fuh play like me na Indian. But yuh know me a wan real Indian, right, Dear Diary? Ev’ry day me use fuh drink wan half battle Bush Rum, but now me stap; me a drink wan battle whiskey now!! An’ na beca’se me gat nuff money – dem a pay me fuh drink!! Dem call am “enta-tain-ment”!! But me ah only enta-tain me-self!!

 Yes, me come home. An’ yuh know who mek me come home, Dear Diary? Me leadah, Grain Ja!! ‘E tell me nothin’ wrang if me seh me a wan Indian!! Yes, me can admit me a wan Indian!! Yesta-day abee bin a Berbice an’ Grain Ja call de Haliday “Indian Arrival Day”!!

 Da man pawah-ful!! ‘E mo pawah-ful dan da chap fram de Bible – Moses. Moses bin pa’t de Red Sea suh ‘e people could crass ova to de odda side; but yuh know wha’ Pressie do?? ‘E mek wan call to de Berbice Bridge people and dem had to keep the Bridge open fuh all abee fram town fuh crass ova!!

 De only problem, Dear Diary, Rum Jhaat prappa vex wid me. ‘E na even tek wan drink wid me. Now yuh know da serious, right? An’ yuh know wha mek? Just beca’se Pressie na tell ‘e fuh guh wid abee to Berbice!!

 …But HOL’ IT, DEAR DIARY. AH 10 A’CLAK NOW. ME GAT FUH TEK ME DRINK. ME AH WAN INDIAN!!

Pre-nup violated

Satiricus was down in the dumps. He felt like the fella in one of the oldies his dad used to listen to — “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”. He was a man with a broken heart. As he headed down to the Back Street Bar, he knew he wasn’t going to get much sympathy from the fellas. But then he figured he’d explore why everyone claimed “misery loves company”.

“Eh! Eh! How come yuh mout’ suh laang?” Bungi asked the moment Satiricus arrived at the table where he and Hari had already put away a few.

“Like the wife didn’t give you your frek, or what?” chimed in Hari with a sly grin, as he signalled the waitress for a beer for Satiricus.

“Nah…,”Satiricus said distractedly. “I just came back from party headquarters.”

“Suh wha’ goin’ aan wid dem KFC bais?” asked Bungi, as he clinked his bottle with Satiricus’s.

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” confessed Satiricus. “You remember the Accord we signed with the Pee-an-See to get our fair share??”

“The Pre-nuptial agreement signed on Valentine Day?” Hari grinned. “I thought that was soooo sweet!! Like a real wedding, not a coalition!!”

“Wha’ happen?” demanded Bungi impatiently. “A’yuh get blow??”

“Well,” started out Satiricus, “I wouldn’t put it that way. But Nagga Man said he wanted a new agreement.”

“And what Rum Jhaat said?” asked Hari while he polished off his beer to hide his smile.

“We haven’t seen Rum Jhaat since he was seen drinking with some British spy at the Desert Lagoon,” answered Satiricus with a worried frown. “I wonder if he was reconditioned.”

“Suh wha’ wraang if Nagga Man want wan new agreement if he and Rum Jhaat a get blow?” Bungi wanted to know.

“The man want us to picket the KFC office,” said Satiricus, shaking his head. “So he can tell GrainJa he’s getting pressure.”

“Me tell yuh ‘e lose ‘e balls afta he get larwah!” chuckled Bungi, slapping the table.

Fear of flying

Satiricus always enjoyed the long Easter weekend. He always thanked the Church Fathers who decided — of all the days in the week — to pick the day on which Jesus was crucified to be a Friday. How could they know? The calendar hadn’t even been formed! Knowing that Jesus rose three days later, Easter then had to fall on a Monday. And voila!! “Good Friday” to “Easter Monday” wrapped around the weekend to give the fellas ample time to bend their elbows at the Back Street Bar!

“OK Sato! OK!” grinned Hari, as Satiricus explained the Easter weekend, “So the Church Fathers were ahead of the Americans on this ‘long weekend’ business!”

“Yeah!” enthused Bungi. “Leh abee drink to da!!”

Drinks duly downed, Satiricus asked, “Can you believe the way United treated that passenger they bumped off their flight?”

“Yes, I can believe it!” Hari immediately responded, as he signalled for another beer. “Have you even flown CaripAirlines?”

“Yeah, Sato!” said Bungi. “Dem a treat Guyanese like daag!”

“You hear that or you know that?” demanded Satiricus.

“Budday, yuh na rememba da time me bin fuh look wuk in St Lucia?” Bungi answered. “Dem CaripAirlines people na even gi’e abee wan pack nut!”

“I went with Bungi that time to show him the ropes,” revealed Hari. “The flight was delayed three hours here. We were starving!”

“An’ abee had fuh wait two hour fuh people come in a Trinidad,” continued Bungi, who was getting quite worked up. “An’ still na wan packet a nut!”

“You like nuts?” asked Satiricus.

“Na play de ass, Sato,” snapped Bungi. “Me bin hungry and de plane start fuh get hat and me start fuh cuss!”

“Bungi didn’t want people to know,” said Hari. “But they dragged him off the plane.”

“So did they beat you?” asked Satiricus solicitously.

“Naah!” said Bungi. “Dem gi’e me some doubles an’ coc’nut wata an’ seh me a de fuss Guyanese wah complain!”