EYEWITNESS: Self-interest…

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…is national interest

A lot of people seem to be getting their buktas and drawers into a knot over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), after the Government signed an MOU with the Chinese Govt.

China’s being painted as the big, bad wolf about to devour Little Black Riding Hood with our basket of (future) oil revenues!!

China’s suckering us into taking out massive loans for infrastructural projects we can’t afford. And when we can’t repay the loans, they’ll step in and take over. Now, why is this picture as distorted as one by Picasso on drugs? Firstly, why do we refuse to accept that EVERY country will act to further its own interests? So, of course, China’s funding infrastructural projects around the world with its grand BRI to serve its interests!! What do we expect the Chinese to do?? Dole out billions and billions out of the goodness of their hearts?? Sorry, dear reader, that’s not how the world worked; works, or will ever work!! China has trillions of hard currency sloshing around in its treasury after running up surpluses with the rest of the world – especially the US.

It’s using that money not just to buy raw materials and other primary products on the cheap from Africa and the rest of the Third World, like us (bauxite); but to further its strategic interests. Right now, the BRI will assist the Chinese to ship their products to their markets cheaper and faster – and via infrastructure under their influence (at worst) or under their control (at best)!! Like in Sri Lanka. For those countries borrowing to build infrastructure, it’s up to them – like with every other borrower – to figure out whether the investment will generate enough revenues or benefits to pay back the loan. It’s just like you and that car loan; if you can’t pay, the bank will repossess the car!!

How come we haven’t been protesting about building that road from Georgetown to Lethem through borrowing from Brazil?? Are we going to generate enough revenues to pay that loan? What if “no”? But the Chinese are making loans very attractive, because the BRI is essential to the next step in their strategy to surpass the US and the rest of Europe economically.

Singapore, for instance, in 1965 considered Europe as their hinterland to ship manufactured goods. China’s even more audacious; it’s now moving from basic manufacturing to technological innovation.
And the BRI makes the entire world China’s “hinterland”!!

…and self-responsibility

Your Eyewitness continues highlighting the unfair attack by David Hinds on President Granger after the latter suggested African Guyanese shouldn’t be “liming” or looking for handouts, but should become economically self-sufficient. Yesterday we mentioned the direct injection of $4.6 billion to support agriculture in four African-dominated villages.

We also mentioned the $68 million allocated to launch IDPAD-Guyana under the Chairmanship of Vincent Alexander from Cuffy 250, the same organisation that Hinds launched.

Right after President Granger donated $17+ millions for Emancipation Day celebrations, IDPAD-G conducted massive “One stop Business Conferences” in Georgetown (Critchlow Labour Institute); Linden and New Amsterdam. There, prospective African entrepreneurs were exposed to the Guyana Marketing Corporation, Guyana Revenue Authority, IPED, the Small Business Bureau, Citizens Bank and others. They were exposed to the requirements for obtaining loans; the steps to register businesses; how to craft business plans etc…etc.

In Linden, Eric Phillips from the African Business Roundtable explained the “10-10-10 economic Plan”. The 14 businesses being launched would generate a 10% growth rate to Region 10 and create 5000 jobs.

So, what more could the President do? Give handouts?

…and conflict of interest

How could the Ministry of Social Protection “conciliate” in the impasse on teachers’ salaries when its Labour Department participated in negotiations that led to the impasse??

That’s not exactly “conciliatory,” is it?!!

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