The Coalition Government recognizes that Guyana needs infrastructure in order to develop. President David Granger said that this is the main reason Guyana is courting China under the umbrella of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Head of State said this at a press conference he held on Friday—the first one in nearly two years.
At that forum, Granger told the media that Guyana is going to be prudent in its approach to projects under the Belt and Road Initiative which is developing a reputation on the international stage as a debt trap for small nations of interest to China.
However, the President said that he is not worried about what is going on in other jurisdictions; his focus is on Guyana.
Granger noted that Guyana’s relations with China go way back. He recalled that this country was the first English-speaking nation in Caribbean to establish relations with China. “We always had cordial relations. We never varied our commitment to the One China policy.”
That policy is rooted in the fact that Guyana supports China’s claim to Taiwan.
Granger was keen to note, “The project that is under consideration now is a concept paper.”
He also said, “I am not worried about what happens in other countries. There is the saying, ‘beware if you are going to take a loan or enter into an agreement with a foreign country.’ You have to take care that you get the best deal for your people.”
The President continued, “So there is no concept or prospect of extravagance. If other countries have had financial difficulties I cannot explain how much they borrowed, why they borrowed, what they intend to do with it. Right now Argentina is facing financial difficulties which have nothing to do with the Chinese Belt and Road project.”
The President stressed that many countries are facing economic difficulties “so I do not feel it is fair to blame one project for the plight of so many different countries.” He was reacting to the fact that many countries took China’s money and cannot repay. They are so indebted that China is taking control of the assets in that borrowing country.
Granger said that the government “must go into these agreement with its eyes wide open.”
He said that there is need for infrastructure. “Our longest river is 1000 kilometres long—the Essequibo—but there is not a single bridge. We have to build a bridge. We have to build a railway or a road link to the Rupununi which is our largest region.
“We cannot develop without infrastructure and we just do not have the capital to do it on our own. So whether it comes from America, China or Britain we have to have it, and of course we have to look for the best deal.
But I am not saying that the agreement that was signed is something that will impoverish the Guyanese nation. I cannot say that.”
He assured that any agreement he signs will not impoverish the people of Guyana.
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