EYEWITNESS: Old wine…

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…in new (loan) decanters

What Barnum said about “a sucker is born every minute” also applies to countries – and they both originate greed. But that shouldn’t surprise us any, should it? China just invited practically every country in Africa to its 2018 Summit of the “Forum on China-Africa Cooperation” (FOCAC) to once again promote its Belt and Road Initiative in Africa.

At the last FOCAC summit, in 2015 in South Africa, a reported US$60 billion of Chinese loans were thrown around… with nary a concern about ‘debt burdens’ expresse! At the one in Beijing that starts today, expect even more offers that the throng of African leaders won’t be able to refuse!! China, after all, even with the billions it’s been doling out, has kept its foreign reserves firmly about the US$3 TRILLION mark!!

That’s US$3,000,000,000,000, baby!!!

Britain has been routinely warning its officials and bankers, etc to beware of Chinese “honey traps” — not only when they’re travelling to China, but even in Britain. “Honey traps”, for you dear readers who’ve been leading cloistered lives, are run by femme fatales (of whatever gender!) who use sex to entice influential officials into compromising circumstances, and then blackmailing them. With the amount of money at their finger-tips, the Chinese won’t even need honey traps over the next few days at FOCAC!!

The US, as the present lone superpower left standing, is, not surprisingly, a tad concerned about all this “money diplomacy” by the Chinese. They’re in no position to go toe-to-toe with the Chinese to win friends and influence countries in Africa with money, even if they wanted to. On the BRI, Trump’s tariffs are one attempt to cut China’s economic clout down to size. But the strategy has its own blowback mechanism: as the US market tightens, China has even more incentives to fund the BRI to ship its manufactured goods elsewhere.

Like England when it abolished slavery, China’s now the free trade champion, and it’s gonna give those African leaders – ads Guyana’s — the full court press loans to open up markets!! But this doesn’t mean the US wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – try to stop the Chinese juggernaut. Competition’s always good!!

The case of Kenya is illustrative. Kenya’s strategically located in East Africa, and back in 2014, the Chinese extended a US$3.2 billion loan to Kenya to construct a railway connecting its inland capital, Nairobi, to its port of Mombassa. Problem is, apart from accusations of inflated costs by the Chinese company executing the contract, there’s no way in heck enough revenues will be generated to service the loan.

The Kenyan leader was asked to make a pit stop in Washington to see Trump before doubling back to China.
Quo vadis?

…in new delivery system

With all that’s going on (or going down) in Venezuela, and its refugees that are threatening to overwhelm all its neighbours – including us – no one took much notice of the latest assassination attempt on Maduro. But it was significant in that it’s the first assassination attempt on a head of state using a drone. And we know how, in these matters, copycats enter the picture!!

Remember how, only recently, street elements in Georgetown used to just “choke and rob”. That’s now passé, with “armed robbery” taking over. Nowadays, drones have become ubiquitous, even in backwater countries like Guyana, with its clapboard houses!! We’re told that even one of our dailies regularly deploys them to get some overhead shots.

Your Eyewitness fears it won’t be long before some smart aleck criminal decides to take out rivals with C-4 strapped to a drone. Like happened with Maduro.

It appears his security had drone-jamming technology…Our new security chief better get with the programme!!
Quick!!

…in new locale

The oil servicing giant Schlumberger just bought out the GAFSON’s Complex to take care of Exxon’s needs to start pumping oil from 2020 onwards.

The move shouldn’t be too traumatic for them. After all, they’re from HOUSTON, Texas to HOUSTON Guyana.

Can’t be much different, right?

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