Jan 12, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – We have always said do what is right for the peoples of this country and we are with whichever leader or group that is responsible. We have no axe to grind, nothing to prove, as our record of calling out all the major political parties over the years stands on its own merits. So, when Guyana’s President Ali looks to and speaks of neighbouring Brazil in the right terms and with the correct visions, we are all for it.
We are with the President and PPP/C Government when the most recent public posture is that Brazil is more than a neighbour, it is vital partner (“Guyana wants Brazil to be a ‘very strong strategic partner’ -President Ali -discusses agenda for visit with Brazil President” -KN January 11). We couldn’t agree more, as it makes for much sense.
Now that the President has said so, he must work diligently so that this is more than a nice, catchy phrase, which no one can disagree with, and make it come to mean something. Brazil is the Latin Americas regional giant hands down, and in many ways, all of which stand to the benefit of little Guyana perched next to her, and stirring into life with its oil discoveries. Despite some ups and downs and being overshadowed in some respects by OPEC neighbour Venezuela in the oil world, Brazil has been a constant and meaningful presence in this same global oil sector, into which Guyana now steps with many mistakes already chalked up against its name.
We can learn from Brazil, for where Venezuela has been the highflyer and sprinter, Brazil has been more of a marathon runner, steady at the wheel, while navigating some bumps in the road, and dealing with the occasional flat tyre in its own oil. Nevertheless, Brazil has accumulated a lot of oil knowledge and wisdom that could be of meaning to Guyana, but only if we are prepared to listen and learn, and not pretend to know more than we do. Brazil is right here with its giant oil sector, both onshore and offshore, and from those, there is so much oil wisdom to be obtained. Given our own stumbling start, we would be missing a golden opportunity not to capitalise on what is right on our doorstep.
Beyond oil, President Ali did note that our geographical location next to each other facilitates linking between our two countries, which in and of itself makes a strong statement and sends strong signals. One of those signals that some astute Guyanese have been talking about for years now is that given the size and muscle of Brazil, Guyana must be sensible in finding ways to work with it and enable the presence of a counterbalance on our side in our relationships. As significant as that is, and of inestimable value in times of trouble and tenseness, it is but one space that must be explored, since there are many others begging for the taking.
Trade is one, which Guyana’s President Ali spoke of, and it certainly has teeth. Preferential agreements involving tariffs and quotas, once finalised, would both go a long way on cementing what could be an enriching relationship to both countries, and those citizens taking advantage of the arrangements formalised.
Among the commodities identified for special mention were bauxite and rice, with the objective for the latter being greater export tonnage to Brazil. Both bauxite and rice could use a facelift and generate not only increase revenues to Guyana, but they could call for more of our people being gainfully occupied in both sectors, one industrial, the other agricultural.
It is our belief that Guyana being a part of a viable long-term relationship with Brazil makes for the most sense, and stands to favour the interests of this struggling society, which already has thousands of Brazilians in our presence. Government leaders are aware and have spoken of the need for boots on the ground, as in workers in due course, and it goes without saying that Brazilians will be a notable part of that incoming mix. As President Bolsonaro himself said, the agenda looks “very promising.” It is as a place from which to start as any.
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