Eyewitness: Who’s afraid…

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…of the Chinese?

Not the Guyana Govt, for sure!! There’s been a lot of scare stories about the Chinese coming in with their wads of (American) cash to inveigle us poor and huddled masses to WILLINGLY enter into a new colonial arrangement. We forget that, in the first go-around, we also invited them in willingly – whether in India or Africa.

Anyhow, the Chinese have made no secret of their ambitions – they’re working on their “Middle Kingdom”, to pip the US as the TOP GUN within a few decades. Their trillion-dollar Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is their main strategic investment outside of their military build-up. The World Bank (controlled by the US) had been saying for decades that developing countries needed to invest in their infrastructure – bridges, highways, ports etc – to get their economies moving upwards. But they weren’t proving the loans!!

So up comes the Chinese with the $3.3 TRILLION they have in American dollars to dangle in front of us. What are we to do?? Look at a gift horse in the mouth? Well, maybe we should – and who’s to say that the Ali administration isn’t?? After all, just like the rest of us, they must’ve read about several projects across the world where countries went in over their heads – like in Sri Lanka with that Port – and the lender, China, had to take over the project. Isn’t that what all lending institutions do? Didn’t we go bankrupt under Burnham in the seventies when he borrowed and he couldn’t pay and had to be bailed out??

This isn’t rocket science…and it has nothing to do with the Chinese. If you’re gonna borrow for a project, you better ensure your cash flow will be there to service the loan as per its terms. When Ghana got into trouble financially after they struck oil, it was because they floated bonds that they couldn’t service when their oil production wasn’t up to projections. Now we’ve been dealing with the Chinese deep pockets for decades – think Skeldon and CJIA.

With the China Railway and the “Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement on Amalia Falls Hydro (AFHEP), they’re taking all the risks and they’re guaranteeing that we’ll get electricity at US$0.07737 per kWh – one quarter of what we’re paying now! It’s up to them to ensure they make back their investment when it’s time to transfer the plant to us!! As for China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and their Design, Finance and Build (DFB) model for the US $256M new DHB, we just have to remember the Govt will be taking that over and paying back the investment.
And the crossing fees will have to cover the amortisation costs!

…of free and fair elections

Some people and institutions are unfortunately so stuck in the past that they refuse to look around to appreciate that the world has changed, and they are, in effect, tilting at windmills. The PNC falls in this category in Guyana. When Burnham launched the PNC, the PPP of Jagan not only had a large plurality of its ethnic supporters, but they were distributed more evenly across the country, so that they would win any FPTP elections.

The system was changed to PR to suit the PNC’s demographics, Burnham got into power, and then rigged elections to neutralise the PPP’s numerical advantage. But all of that is long gone!! The PNC won a free and fair elections in 2015!! And it did so by forming a political vehicle that appealed outside its constituency. In 2020, the PPP won because of PNC’s missteps and it also appealed for crossover votes.
Yet the present lot of wannabe PNC leaders are still ignoring the crossovers that were alienated by Granger’s ineptitude.
Go figure!!

…of COVAX vaccine

PM Modi of India personally wrote an OP ED boasting about his government vaccinating ONE BILLION CITIZENS against the COVID 19 virus!!
Most of the vaccines were their own COVAX version – which Guyana just approved.