The trajectory trend remains on an incline. The country is now the employment destination for regional migrants looking for improvement.
Unselfishly, we have zero problems with that. It may now be Guyana’s turn to reciprocate that accommodation afforded so many Guyanese resident abroad.
What we look for is deliberate and robust negotiations by the Guyana Government for employment opportunities for its citizens; all along the spectrum of skilled and unskilled labor.
It would be the thing a country with a booming production sector would do, especially since its unemployment currently hovers around 14.9% with a projected growth of 64.4% when that normal metric is typically 2.5% – 3.5%.
We’re learning that the MOU Refinery proposals we first read of as going to Tender in 2021, subsequently receiving 7 Bidders (or more), was eventually awarded to the Dominican Republic, amidst a lot of consternation.
Our dismay remains the tangential manner in which we learn of these things. We don’t hear clear declarations coming from the government…which includes the Opposition from which many of us would expect an unvarnished report of government plans, since they impact the nation.
So we have to rely on international publications that address the issues of Guyana that we’re interested in.
As observers of politics, we know that countries that sign certain treaties and align themselves with specific economic communities, then benefit economically from those relationships, don’t do anything on the economic front with out the approval of the ‘leading countries’.
The Dominican Republic’s (the DR) win of the bid which led to the signing of MOU Refinery documents to build and operate a 50,000 barrel per day delivery system was hardly because the ruling Party of Guyana’s government astutely went through the tender offers and selected the candidate that qualified, per the parameters designated by the presidential team.
There’s a solid dose of politics injected into this.
We’ll skip the 1890 origin of the first iteration of the Organization of American States as International Union of American Republics, suggest reading of 22 year Haitian occupation of Santo Domingo- now DR- and fast forward to an Independent Dominican Republic’s trade agreement ‘talks’ with Taiwan.
We’ll cite the 1971 restoration of China to the UN which effected the expulsion of The Republic of China – Taiwan- from the UN and the ensuing poaching of OAS countries by China, through an aggressive dollar diplomacy crusade.
We’ll mention, for context, the voluminous history and political maneuverings between America and China and their jostle for world dominance.
Hugo Chavez’ eventual ascension to President in 1999, after his Bolivarian revolution, caused some American unease.
Reagan had already dealt with Grenada’s revolutionary Maurice Bishop, in 1983 and did not emerge the hero he had hoped, even when he claimed the Caribbean and Latin America to be America’s backyard.
Chavez had signed 15 cooperation agreements between February and December 1999 and some 486 total between 1999 and 2019 were signed by the time Maduro snatched the baton and kept on running.
Chavez had opened the China floodgates when he accepted the embrace of then president, Jiang Zemin, architect of ‘Develop the West’- the forerunner to the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative- and Maduro expanded the relationship and opportunity for China’s engagement in the region from a presidency America labels illegitimate for reasons that are questionable.
We’ll skip the details of how Latin American countries like Panama, Argentina, Chile gave America heartburn after being successfully courted by China’s initiatives to provide infra structure from airports, to stadiums, hospitals, roads, agriculture, oil.
Abinader swiftly shuttered the Chinese office in his presidential palace. We’re not sure if he embraced the US doctrine or the Trump presidency but we do know that he hired Rudy Giuliani as an anti crime fighter for the DR and that Trump appointed Robin Bernstein, known more as a Mar a Lago founding member, donor and Trump vote -whipper as US Ambassador to his country.
Secretary of State Pompeo paid a formal visit to the nation as well, after which Abinader declared strict sector limitations to Chinese operations in his country, specifically 5g telecommunications and major port locations.
We’re thinking that the hard line drawn against China was done so thru Trump- whom we remember as bragging about the piece of chocolate cake he serve President XI when he invited him to Mar a Lago and shared state and international secrets in his juvenile inadequacy; the essence of his diplomacy.
Abinader’s use of Giuliani and acceptance of an Ambassador functionally unqualified for the post seemed to fit the profile of foreign Presidents that the Republicans would engage in their drive to impose regional conservatism…is our opinion.
The Memorandum of Understanding for the MOU Refinery-inked between Guyana and the DR hardly came “out of thin air” per speculative consensus, is our deduction.
The country may not be in the oil producing business.
Per WIKILEAKS, in spite US Charge d’Affaires Roland Bullen’s Statement saying America saw no problem with Chavez’ ownership of 49% of the DR’s primary refinery,its Hemispheric Charge d’Affaires Otto Reich and influential business man Abu Naba’a ,both oil players in service to the US government, warned otherwise.
Having foreign companies own major stakes in critical infrastructure like the country’s major oil refinery gave them a virtual operational monopoly; as it gave the government of the day opportunity for a lucrative alliance and gushing cash flow for politicians responsible for issuing access to the business.
And, herein lies the cautionary tale for Guyana, is our view.
Per the MOU Refinery, the DR could own up to 51% of the refinery it builds for Guyana. They’ve signed at least eighteen “far reaching” Agreements with China, inclusive of already dispensed construction and loans.
Then there’s this not so small projection of China’s oil refinery intent.
Guyana, with its burgeoning oil flow offers a two-fer opportunity- getting in on the refinery action and increasing its economic foot print in Reagan’s back yard which would be a political victory.
America has political investment in Guyana’s oil given its assertion of the backyard geopolitics (3rd para from bottom).
And they were politically apoplexed when Hugo Chavez managed to secure 49% of the DR’s Refidomsa.
Their interest in ensuring that the refinery itch would not be scratched by China’s hand to retain the economic ground it has established in the region, is to be considered, for all that we’ve cited to bring you to this point.
And it would still be a service within the governing Opposition’s portfolio- the executive actions of its Leader Aubrey Norton- to offer some clarity on what his arm of government is doing in its capacity to check and balance the terms of the MOU Refinery agreement.
In spite of its failure, to date, to assume the role of 50% of the nation’s governance which is its constitutional obligation as the other arm of government, Norton’s Opposition still has the duty to provide the electorate and citizens who stand to benefit, information on the oversight he’s providing to ensure that any attempts to hijack the refinery would be caught before it happens.
It’s not enough for the ruling arm of Government to “express no interest in participating as a shareholder”.
There is too much operational freewheeling in this brand new oil industry …starting with the contract.
For it to yield due patrimony to every Guyanese there must be, at least, an explanation on why the Government will not be a shareholder.
Guyanese are due that from its government and must call for it collectively …especially since the check and balance arm of its ruling arm is charachteristically non vocal on these matters of grave importance.