EYEWITNESS: Digging…

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…the credit hole

When then President, Jagdeo had visited Kuwait and some other countries in the Middle East, back in 2010, to secure development funding – and this was in the pre-oil era, mind you. The PNC and AFC screamed hysterically that he was being adventurous. The AFC shrieked,  “We warn that the high wire act being performed by Mr Jagdeo could lead to our becoming embroiled in a dangerous game being played out in a larger arena, and one in which we could find ourselves impaled on the horns of an axis of death and destruction”!!

We wonder why they’re deafeningly silent now that Finance Minister Jordan is following in Jagdeo’s tracks and trying to capitalise on the goodwill he and President Ramotar had engendered in the years since, by asking Kuwait that their US$70 million debt be forgiven.

Whatever happened to “the horns of an axis of death and destruction”??? Hypocrites!! The other benefit the PNC-led Government’s benefiting from out of the PPP courting of the Islamic world is its membership of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), which led in Dec 2017 to “a resource envelope” of US$900 million being potentially available over the next four years – once suitable projects are identified.

Now, loans from the IsDB are based on “Islamic principles” based on the Sharia, or Muslim law, which include — as your Eyewitness pointed out at the time —  Mudarabah (Profit sharing and loss bearing), Wadiah (safekeeping), Musharaka (joint venture), Murabahah (cost plus), and Ijara (leasing).. Islamic Banking, for instance, forbids riba, or usury, which would include interest on interest. For instance, we actually borrowed from Kuwait only US$10 million, but since then, the interest on the interest has increased the debt to US$70 million!! This would be forbidden, as riba, if Kuwait applied Islamic banking principles.

Jordan certainly didn’t know about this angle, to raise when he “begged” the Kuwaitis for debt forgiveness. After all, even though he secured the US$900 million resource envelope almost a year ago, it was only AFTER he received the first drawdown of US$20 million to fund GPL’s technical line loss that he confessed sheepishly, “Over the next few days, my team and I will be involved in activities that will bring a greater and deeper appreciation for the principles and practices of Islamic banking.”

Imagine that!! Guyana became a member of IsDB because it has a Muslim population of over 10 percent, yet Jordan didn’t think to consult them about Islamic Banking”!! But he should at least know that Islamic Banking practices don’t encourage theft. And when Jordan uses the IsDB money to reduce only line loss (14 percent) and ignore electricity theft (15 percent), that’s haraam.

Jordan would do well to consult Local Islamic jurists specialising in fiqh al-muamalat — Islamic commercial jurisprudence.

…into Reverse Linkage

In addition to the LOAN from the IsDB, Guyana received a US$900,000 GRANT from the institution to support the rice sector. Minister Winston Jordan displayed his ignorance of a seminal innovation of the IsDB to Islamic Banking when, in signing for GRANT, he baldly just mentioned it as a “Reverse Linkage” that would assist in updating Guyana’s expertise and technology in rice production.

If he’d taken the time to get a briefing on Reverse Linkage”, he’d know that this is the IsDB’s effort to remove development initiatives away from the Western institutions that have dominated the field for the last sixty years. In so doing, they steered “development” in pathways that benefited THEIR commercial institutions more than the supposed “beneficiaries”.

Take, for instance, their new rice varieties. All of them depend for their success on increasing amounts of fertilisers — which THEY produce. Or genetically modified crops, where companies like Monsanto control the supply of seeds.

“Reverse linkages” link South-South institutions. That’s revolutionary!!

…for Health answers

We were informed that, at last, the Ministry of Public Health has moved out from the bottom-house “warehouse” it paid for and rented from its campaign contributor for $300 million.

So where’s it storing the free CT scanner received for Bartica Hospital two years ago??

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