Ian McCredie in the Fair Observer of January 6, last, wrote an article titled, “Will the West lose Guyana to the Chinese?”
Whatever the answer, and whenever the reality that emerges, Mr. McCredie certainly penned some sobering thoughts for all Guyanese to consider. As some selected excerpts emphasize there are predators all around, and all of them seek to help themselves and relieve us of what belongs to us, even as we look on largely unmoved, while expanding flurries of projects come onboard.
First was “Guyana’s inexperience, incompetence, and lack of Western interest.”
Apart from the oil majors, whose names are mud, there is the sense that Western business presences are not enough for the huge infrastructure works that will become necessary, as this country looks to spend which was identified as a share that “is still gigantic and could transform the country.”
It is in this context that Fair Observer pointed out that the “Chinese have arrived in force and dealing with a self-selected elite is just their style.”
There is “a huge embassy” to do groundwork, spadework, intelligence gathering work, and others not so aboveboard work that definitely would not be in the best interests of this society, if what has panned out in Africa and elsewhere is considered.
The Chinese gift horses, when looked at in the mouth, do not thrill; instead, they frighten because of the potential for this country to have its head chewed to bits, while its eyes are wide open.
Projects involving the Chinese, or targeted by them include airport refurbishing, road from Brazil, “a new deep-water port and industrial zone powered by gas piped from offshore.”
There is also the likely building of a new capital city somewhere else where sea levels and flooding are not a concern. These are big ticket items running into the billions of dollars and, more and more, the Chinese appeared to be poised to corner the Guyanese market.
In all of these, the Chinese are present; they don’t come cheap and they usually don’t come cleanly. Just check with other Third World countries that swooned to the Chinese financial magic tricks, a whole bag of them, and survived to tell the woeful, painful tale.
If Guyanese think that the ExxonMobil deals were bad, they won’t have to wait long for worse when the Chinese get here and sink their teeth in the sweet plums of this country. It is predator territory and the most powerful and persistent will prosper.
The Chinese have a record of all those elements; they have the money, the expertise, and the skills to make rings around venal governments (elites) and unsavory politicians and professionals, who drool in anticipation.
The Chinese are not too much into resistance against handling business a certain way, nor are they too enmeshed in human rights and regulations and the like. They are hungry and they will ensure that they eat other people’s dinner.
In view of the comprehensive nature of their presence in other societies, including this one, while we are wondering what hit us, the hauls that they characteristically take to the bank, require more than one such financial institution, while leaving gullible and vulnerable host nations gasping for air.
Against this backdrop, the question is: where are the Western companies? The multinationals and corporate big shots, that are everywhere but here? Yes, there is Schlumberger, Bechtel and a smattering of other western outfits, but they are more invisible and inconsequential than might be expected.
This is tailor-made for the folks from the Far East to wrap their arms around the increasingly richer Guyanese possibilities.
As another excerpt from the Fair Observer stated, “They are eager to provide the finance, secured against future oil revenue and to lock in Guyana for the long term. They will of course import tens of thousands of Chinese labourers to do the work. As usual in such situations, they will never leave.”
All of that looks like par for the course and does not bode well for the peoples of this country, who may end up holding the same empty bag, as usual.
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