The news that is supposed to be good and inspiring is that two hotels, including the famed Hilton chain, are coming to Guyana. We are supposed to be overjoyed, because we are so often fed that bone to appease us: jobs. We are so hard-up, that jobs alone are sufficient to soften us into putty and sawdust.
We at this paper ask: why does this nauseating story have to be repeated with every buccaneering corporate presence that arrives on these shores?
This was what the previous government told believing citizens about the Marriott when, all along, the Chinese came with their own workforce – down to the bottom feeder jobs that are normally doled out to Guyanese to keep them quiet and in line.
We now take this farther, and across the board of the decades of PPP rule and the recent years of this current government – and it seems that when push comes to shove, nobody is making any money here, and when the merest pressure is applied, they threaten to pack up and leave.
As exhibits, we tender those Great Guyanese Giveaways. There is Rusal, Bosai, Omai and the granddaddy of them all BaiShanLin. They plundered and helped themselves in the manner of corporate barbarians, while we had to be contented with minimal jobs, no taxes, no profit sharing, and not a dime of any dividends. Worse yet, there was and still is absolutely no respect.
Then along came another set of heavyweights, this time in the mining sector, by the name of Troy Resources and Aurora Gold, who kept excavating and carrying away the gems – the heart of our riches, while we clawed for a measly percent here and another there.
Somehow, the upper limit of our mathematics education never took us past double digits, as in 10%. Jobs, royalties and taxes, profits, industrial relations respect, true partnership somehow appear to be secondary to our political and professional negotiators, or to have fallen by the wayside.
We at this publication do not believe that it is for a lack of smarts, or that our people at the table are limited and ‘dotish’. We say that the truth is far from that, as our leaders and advisers and inner circle helpers scheme for what is good for them, and are contemptuous of the interests of country and people. So, they resort to secrecy or the blandness of what never fails to intrigue and enchant: the magic word is jobs.
We at this paper, on behalf of the Guyanese people, dare to ask: what about taxes, profits, dividends? How about some transparency?
And, lastly, why are there no lessons learned from the follies and errors of that Exxon fiasco? How long are we going to continue selling the riches of this country for jobs and a few pennies?
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