WPA has just woken up

first_imgDear Editor,It would seem that the Working People’s Alliance [WPA] has just woken up.  For three years, with all the scandals — including the move by the Coalition Government, of which it is a part, to hide the US$18 million signing bonus — the WPA has been silent.Now it claims that it was never “consulted or briefed on the negotiations and other official deliberations” on oil and gas.This all seems very convenient because we are months out from the Local Government Elections and it would seem that the promise of “advocacy” from the WPA is intended to influence some voters. You can see this convenience being exposed, because while the WPA has said that it endorses the call by Professor Clive Thomas for petroleum money to be given directly to households, the WPA also admits that its positions are not about “economic correctness”.  How can economic correctness not be a factor?Worse than being convenient are the other comments that have been made by the WPA.   First, the WPA said “the primary function of any State, regardless of ideological orientation, is to look after the welfare of its people.”  But the WPA has not held its partners in the Coalition Government accountable in this regard. All of the increases in taxes and the move to impose measures that hurt people’s welfare — as well as the Coalition Government’s general incompetence, especially in the health sector, which hurts peoples’ welfare — have already happened. In all of this, the WPA has said nothing.Second, the WPA has said the Coalition Government must “not make final policy and governance arrangements” without inputs from stakeholders.  But the WPA has said nothing when the Government ignored the advice of its own Petroleum Advisor, who is no longer employed.Third, the WPA has said, “We must never underestimate the developmental challenges associated with managing the petro economy.”But the WPA has said nothing about the fact that we are two years away from “First Oil” and there still is no management framework in place.  The WPA has said nothing about “development challenges” when the list of local companies engaged by ExxonMobil demonstrated the need for a strong local content framework.Fourth, the WPA said, “The Government take is estimated at 50 to 60%.”  But the WPA, in quoting a big percentage, has said nothing about the millions in pre-contract costs that have been claimed by ExxonMobil, and it has said nothing about what will happen when oil prices drop, and it has said nothing about what the Coalition agreed are costs that ExxonMobil could claim as cost oil.  So the WPA can say that Government take is 50% – 60%, but 50% – 60% of what?Editor, all the WPA has done is expose itself as being conveniently opportunistic and unwilling to face reality, as I pointed out in the four points above.Yours faithfully,Attiya Bakshlast_img read more