Guyana and China sign significant grant Agreement
By Amar Panday
The Government of Guyana and the People’s Republic of China yesterday signed a grant agreement to the tune of $50 million yuan or approximately US$8 million.
At yesterday’s signing in the boardroom of the Ministry of Finance, the Chinese ambassador Yu Wenzhe, said that the signing of this agreement is a “happy occasion” which evidences the friendly relations between the two countries which commenced with formal diplomatic ties inked in 1972.
Ambassador Yu submitted that this significant grant is intended to finance mutually agreed upon projects which will materialise in “concrete and tangible benefits” for the people of Guyana.
He added that this endeavour of assistance is a component of a pattern of recent technical co operation between the two countries.
Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, said that Guyana and China have an established historical connection whose origin could be traced to Chinese immigration and indentureship to Guyana in the 19th century.
Moreover, there has been significant Chinese migration and habitation of Guyana in recent times. Thus, he posited, there exists an established Chinese presence in the fabric of Guyanese society.
Singh recollected that Guyana was the first Caricom country to have established diplomatic relations with China. Moreover, he submitted that Guyana has reaffirmed its support of the One China policy.
The Minister said that over the years, China has provided valuable development support for a number of projects, notably the transmission and distribution network project for the supply of electricity in Guyana.
He added that in the area of human resource development, China has rendered invaluable assistance.
At the multilateral level, China has also been benign to the resource mobilisation effort of the Government of Guyana.
A Chinese firm has also constructed the Government’s Skeldon Sugar factory which has become the bedrock of sugar production in Guyana.
The Minister, when pressed to identify the areas in which the grant would be utilised, declined to be specific, but proffered that funding would be earmarked for developmental projects in the social sector.
The Finance Minister proffered that China is a potent example and model in the developmental thrust. The marvelous economic growth achieved by China offers insightful lessons to other developing nations grappling with task of advancing growth.
Singh said that he was particularly enamored with the splendid transformation that has taken place in Shanghai; which is now a city that is second to none in terms of urbanised development.
China’s economic advance has however been tempered by a litany of claims of repression in the areas of human rights and free speech and communication. On December 11, last, Kaieteur News reported on China incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo.
On the same day, the Stabroek News published an editorial entitled Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment is China’s shame.