Nov 05, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The Chinese are coming with more and more strength in more places. Chinese companies are heading the pack for such juicy projects as the New Demerara Bridge, and the revived Amaila Falls Project, with more big multimillion projects most likely in the works. We make clear where we stand with Chinese companies coming here to do business.
We have serious problems with how the Chinese company responsible for the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Expansion Project has delivered on its obligations. We are upset that it has been allowed to get away with the equivalent of contract murder, and then top it all off by insulting us. This has been done through more delays, more cost overruns, and more lame excuses. Government after government, and their respective ministers in charge of the airport project, have been pushed around, run over, and made fools of, without qualm or hesitation by officials of the Chinese company awarded the contract to modernise our international airport.
We want and welcome the Chinese corporations and expertise that they bring in answer to the needs of Guyana. But this we must make clear: WE AT THIS PAPER WANT AND WELCOME ONLY CLEAN COMPANIES WITH CLEAN HISTORIES AND CLEAN PEOPLE. What we say and write about Chinese companies apply to all foreign companies coming here and seeking lucrative business opportunities. In fact, this also applies to local companies bidding to get a piece of the Guyana pie. It is the only way that we get value for money, and the Guyanese taxpayers are not given the goods again, but receive goods and services and results that stand up to the test of time and rigorous usage.
Yet, the mystifying continues to occur, and as if our leaders, the ones making the decisions at the Cabinet level as to which companies are given the coveted “no objection” go ahead, don’t care who they partner with to execute the business of the people of this nation. The mystifying takes place when Chinese companies (and others from other places) with a lengthy record of either corruption or late delivery or project failure are repeatedly greeted with red carpet embrace, shortlisted, and gifted with “no objection” greenlighting.
It seems that the more we have reported on such companies, sometimes on an almost weekly basis, the more they rush here, and the more they are rewarded by our conniving political leaders, in association with their collaborating handpicked bureaucrats, with handsome business opportunities. It is a well-known fact that Guyanese have had problems, and continue to do so, with foreign companies in a number of its rich, largely unexplored, and wide-open natural resources sector. The same is also true of this country’s behind the times and many infrastructural needs also.
For their part, our political leaders from the different governments, and the Ministers responsible for related portfolios, such as Natural Resources and Public Works, position themselves with only a couple of priorities in mind. The first is how to make political foes look bad, while making themselves look good, on the job, in charge, knowing what they are doing, and pushing for fulfillment of contract obligations. It is all smoke and froth, while the foreign companies lay low, let the heat pass by, and everything goes back to the usual routines.
That is, more delays, more corruptions, and more cost overruns, and all of which are followed by more fancy ministerial speeches pretending at the forceful. On another note, many ranking foreign officials in companies worldwide have earned troubling reputations for doing business in largely underhanded ways. They will partake in bribing local leaders and public service officials to make things favour them. Western company seniors are not above such malpractices, but it could be said with some reasonable accuracy that it is a part of the cut-throat competition and culture of companies from the east.
So, when we hear Guyanese political leaders touting the benefits of partnerships with the Chinese, the first question that we ask ourselves is this: what is in for them (the Guyanese politicians) at the individual level? Is it a case of the usual mutual backscratching that ignores all the corruption records of before? This would include anyone and everyone, everywhere.
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