Square off…between the Eagle and the Dragon


Now that Secretary Pompeo has departed, the dust is beginning to settle…and it’s not just from that which his jet raised on the tarmac at CJIA. Some (most?) had figured he was here to rope us in on some kind of Crusade against the Venezuelan regime headed by Maduro.

Pompeo didn’t hide his -and his government’s – commitment to assist with the return of democracy to Venezuela. While there was no actual “dust up” with the Venezuelan Embassy representing Maduro and his gang, Pompeo certainly raised the hackles of the Chinese Embassies here – and also in Suriname – with his remarks directed at them.

Or more on their modus operandi as they compete with the Americans in the sphere where the latter had ruled supreme for a century but were now fading – big business! Who woulda thought?! Here it was Nixon, the Republican arch-anti-communist made peace with Communist China in 1972, and less than fifty years later, the Chinese are now confident enough to take on the Americans head on in business – if not militarily!! Yet! Ironically, it’s American businesses that facilitated the Chinese expansion, in their quest of that quintessentially American value –profits!!

Said Pompeo – as he signed off on some bilateral agreements with President Ali that included getting American participation in our infrastructural explosion that’s down the pike: “They (the Chinese) put political pressure on countries to accept tenders from their country.” Probably alluding to our experience in constructing our emblematic American Hotel – the Marriott – he claimed China doesn’t allow locals to be hired when deals are struck and they show scant respect for the environment, the rule of law, and countries’ sovereignty. The big, bad Dragon with its strategy for world conquest!!

The Chinese Embassy didn’t take that lying down. They shot back huffily, “China develops relations with Caribbean countries including Guyana under the principles of mutual respect, equality, and mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation.” Well, that’s not exactly true, is it? While all countries promoting their business corporations – as Pompeo candidly conceded – expect that benefits will flow back to America. But he insists that this will be a two- way street!!

Suriname, which has been more entangled with Chinese investments, now has almost one-tenth of their population consisting of Chinese who stayed behind after Chinese projects. We note their growing presence here. Do we really need more supermarkets as “foreign investments” when they come with Chinese residents?? Is this really a “transfer of technology” and “mutually beneficial win-win cooperation”?

Listen, dear reader. We know the consequences of picking the wrong side when Jagan and Burnham went with the Commies back in the Cold War days.

Let’s remember which hemisphere we live in!!

…on spending

It’s been quite an animated debate over the past week. Unfortunately, from the PNC’s side, there’s been more heat than light on what they stand for. One thing about the PPP – like them or hate them – you always know what their budgets and economic plans will be. All you gotta do is read their Manifesto: those fellas take this document VERY seriously!!

On the other hand, the PNC neophytes were forced on the backfoot as they frantically scrambled to defend their lassitude and missteps over the last five years! Imagine Patterson claiming the PPP hadn’t left any projects in the pipeline in 2015. What could they say when the modernisation of the CJIA, and the rebuilding of the EC and WC Demerara highways were thrown in their face.

Or that they did absolutely nothing with Green Power after they nixed AFHEP – even though the Norwegians had shown this was their best option!!

At least they conceded defeat gracefully when they said they’ll support Guyana’s development!

…in Parliament

It was a battle of the young’uns – Ramson vs Figueira – on initiatives in the sports portfolio. Figueira complained bitterly about Ramson not appointing a “Director of Sports” yet.

Good thing Figueira – with those Charandass’ honed elbows – wasn’t next to Ramson!!