Letter: Brazilian border issue needs to be fixed for a safe trading environment

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

Dear Editor,

Improved border security is a must-have for successful trade to be established with our southern neighbour. An illegal immigrant from Brazil caused all kinds of concern and havoc in our Indigenous communities during the onset of COVID-19. Our porous borders have also been the source of excessive smuggling of gold from our land, and the recent large find by Omai would only encourage more of this unlawful behaviour.

Our countries cannot have a serious discussion on trade without first fixing the border issue. Government income would be lost, and visibility of the movement of goods and people along the borders would become a larger problem if an agreement is not firstly made on how to better control the southern border.

If the most recent display of the killing of the jaguar on the world stage by Brazilian authorities is any indication of how dissimilar our views on nature are, not to mention the lack of respect for Guyana’s national symbols, then we are far from coming to a mutually beneficial agreement as equal partners at the bargaining table.

Brazil must be willing to improve the security along its border with Guyana, and there must be a sharp reduction in the gold smuggling occurring for our two great nations to ink a long-term trade agreement that would improve trade while ensuring improved national security for both of our citizens and our friends in the animal kingdom.

A number of the smugglers coming in from Brazil have been found to be criminals and those of unsavoury character. Our Police and court system must also be better linked to preventing Guyana from becoming a criminal safe haven for those escaping the justice system in Brazil. With increased trade comes this increased risk. We must fix the fundamentals to prevent opening up our society to larger problems from the South.

Best regards,
Jamil Changlee