THE GREAT GULF COAST HOLOCAUST-PART 2
By Dave Hodges
July 9, 2011
“Ah mercy, mercy me Ah things ain’t what they used to be” -Marvin Gaye, Mercy Mercy Me, 1971
In the aftermath of BP’s oil spill, the oil giant promised the financially damaged residents of the Gulf Coast, that BP would make the victims “whole.” BP has made extraordinary promises related to restitution in which they have repeatedly stated that they would not leave the Gulf “until the job is done” . As we saw in the first part of this series, The Great Gulf Coast Holocaust , BP is excellent at compensating a miniscule number of victims and then BP parades these same people out in the eye of the public while pretending as if this microscopic number of fully compensated victims are the norm when it comes to BP restitution (3, 4, 5). Nothing could be further from the truth.
Restitution or Destitution?
For those who are not lucky enough to have won the BP propaganda lottery by having been selected to be the face of BP fairness while receiving financial restitution in exchange for assisting BP in their shameless self-promotion tactics, there are untold numbers of Gulf workers who have been underpaid or not paid at all, despite BP’s legal obligation to make the victims whole.
Fisherman, Nga Da, is one of the unlucky ones and he has grown weary of BP and its stonewalling tactics with regard to paying him. Da states “For 20 years, “I earned $1,500 for 2 months from BP. Then I got $800 for a month afterwards. Then I received nothing for the past five months.” Broke and destitute, as a result of BP’s broken promises coupled with BP’s failure to live up to their legal obligations, Da borrowed money from his younger sister to pay rent. Meanwhile, the BP’s claims facility offered a lump sum $5,000 for not suing, “but I don’t know the future because there is no prospect for employment because most of the processing companies have closed .”
More Voices from the Gulf
Meet Kindra Arnesen (7), she is the Gulf Coast’s modern day version of Erin Brockovich. Kindra has risen from a position of obscurity to become her region’s most prolific and tireless advocate for the Gulf Coast victims and she tells a far different story than the tale that BP is trying spin.
Arnesen states that “I am in touch with all the fisheries along the coast and I cannot find one who has been compensated (8)”. She further states, ”BP is lying through their teeth as I can personally name scores of people who have been bankrupted by BP and others who have not been paid a dime [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].” Arnesen adds that “My husband, David, a shrimp fisherman, made over $150,000 the year before the oil spill. His business has been destroyed by BP who offered him a one-time payment of $5,000 for the loss of his business. Kindra expressed fear about the consequences of speaking out against BP because David Arnesen is now working in BP’s clean-up efforts in order to make ends meet. Kindra notes that everyone is afraid to speak out against the injustices of BP because “BP is the King and they are running the Gulf [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14].”