So I thought I would say goodbye.
Except that it is not really goodbye today is it. You are hanging on until October, but what you are going to do for another couple of months, I am not sure?
Even then you aren’t really leaving are you? Not content with $1 million / a year for life, you are off to represent BP’s interests in Siberia to pocket another $50,000 a year.
So despite being at the helm for America’s worse ever environmental disaster and for wiping billions of the share price and forcing BP to set aside $32.2 billion for costs related to the spill, the company cannot even bear to get rid of you.
They must be glutens for punishment. One tabloid paper, the New York Daily News, has described you as the “most hated – and clueless – man in America.” But still they want you.
But I suppose you could argue that at least you got your life back, which is more than can be said for the hundreds of thousands of people affected by this spill who continue to live this disaster on the Gulf Coast and will for decades to come.
You got your life back which is more than William Allen “Rookie” Kruse, who was just 2 years older than you, when at fifty five he killed himself on the 23rd June, 65 days into this disaster.
Kruse’s boat, named “Rookie”, now sits idle in the marina at Zeke’s Landing. He took a job with BP’s “Vessels of Opportunity” cleanup program, but the disaster unfolding in front of his eyes was just too much for him.
Kruse killed himself just days after you were pictured on your boat – it was slightly different from William’s in that it was a £500,000 sailing gin palace for fun and frolics on the high seas, not an honest working fishing boat.
“He honestly thought we would not have the Gulf of Mexico anymore. He would not see it to fish in it again,” says Tom Steber, the marina’s general manager, who knew Kruse going back to high school.
It took four years for the first suicide after the Exxon Valdez. Your disaster broke that record.
I am sure it won’t be the first either. For 21 years, J. Steven Picou has tracked the residents of Cordova, Alaska, whose community was deeply wounded by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
“It’s like the table is set,” he says of your spill. “And now we’re going to be served with this 15- to 20-year-course meal of problems.”
As CNN points out : “Among the woes to be dished out: depression, marital problems, family violence, crime, substance abuse and suicides.”
So Tony you get $1 million for life: you get the spoils of office. The Gulf of Mexico gets to pick up the pieces with the spoils of pollution.
Your pension pot could have gone instead to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals who sent a request to BP in late June, seeking $10 million to provide mental health services to the state’s residents. That request was denied.
Another organisation, Catholic Charities applied for a separate $12 million grant from BP, including $1.2 million for crisis counseling.
As of last Friday, BP had not responded to the application. They were probably too busy working out your lucrative severence package.
Liz McCartney, the co-founder of St. Bernard Project, a New Orleans-area nonprofit established after Katrina, argues that people have been “re-traumatized” by your oil disaster. Giving money for counselling would make a real difference. “It’s such a quick win,” she says.
“It’s such an easy way for BP to demonstrate to people that they care not only about fixing the environment and making sure wildlife is taken care of but that people matter.”
You could donate a year of your salary to help with counselling – its not that you are hardly need it. The $50,000 a year you will get from being a director of BP-TNK would be a handsome salary for most people.
I think many in the Gulf of Mexico wouldn’t mind you being sent to Siberia, but they were probably thinking of the salt lines, rather than another cosy corporate board-room.
Since the Gulf disaster you have made so many gaffes, but one act of redemption could be to donate your pension pot to the victims of the disaster.
Then maybe you could start to heal the wounds…