Home Letters Guyana cannot allow a few power-drunk people to lead it into political...
In their March 2020 dossier that was sent to the Washington sanction-busting firm of JJ & B LLC, the PNCR stated that the PPP/C plans to establish a People’s Liberation Army base covering 10,000 acres in Guyana, as well as to grant citizenship to Chinese to the extent that they will account for 10 per cent of Guyana’s population. These and other falsehoods have been reported in this controversial PNCR dossier. The PPP/C has rejected those reckless allegations and has asked the US Justice Department to investigate the authenticity of the filing information that they (PNCR) submitted.
The dossier originated in a particular context. The PNCR knew that they lost the March 2, 2020 elections based on their review of the copies of the Statement of Polls (SoPs). And given their neurotic preoccupation with governmental executive power, they readily put their plan B (rigging the elections results) into operation so as to retain power. They strongly believe that by issuing this dossier before the start of the recount process they could divert focus from the reality of rigging to scandalising the PPP/C’s record in Government. The PNCR’s strategy was designed to endear themselves to Washington’s and other western capitals. At the same time, they hope that the painting of the PPP/C Government as killers, drug dealers, anti-democrats, anti-America, pro-China and pro-Russia would resonate well with those foreign leaders.
An analysis of the available evidence on the pro-China issue, for example, indicates that the PNCR has increasingly begun to shift their focus to China, since they believe that the rigging of the election results would be condemned by the west, which will likely impose sanctions upon them. GECOM is under severe pressure from the PNCR to rig the election results in favour of a PNCR victory. And to mitigate the negative impact of sanctions, therefore, the PNCR may turn to China for relief.
Perhaps, the PNCR believes that history is on their side! It was their (PNCR) Government, for example, that was the first among the Anglophone Caribbean to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing in the 1970s. That was a daring act by the PNC regime in the Cold War era. The PNCR Government received G$72 million in aid from China in the 1970/80s. The Chinese were also praised lavishly then by the PNCR Administration for building a clay brick factory, a textile mill, and a housing project, as part of the PNCR’s FHC (Feed, House and Clothe) programme. The fanfare generated was short-lived; these projects were not sustainable and therefore collapsed shortly afterwards. But the PNCR, under Mr David Granger, seems determined to build upon strengthening that relationship.
PNCR Executive Joseph Harmon visited China in April 2016 to discuss the status of a US$5 million balance owed to Guyana for the purchase of GTT (Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company) shares by the Chinese company, Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group. Harmon’s team also negotiated with another Chinese firm, NUTECH, the acquisition of container and baggage scanners. Harmon’s visit had set the stage for a deepening of Guyana-China relations. From then onwards, the cumulative impact has been evident.
Robin Singh noted, “in 2016 the Chinese officials presented a master-plan for the development of every sector of Guyana to a team that included Raphael Trotman.” Many of the top brass of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) have attended military courses in China, and there have been large donations of vehicles, weapons, and ammunition to the GDF. A contract was entered into with the Chinese firm, Huawei, for the installation in Georgetown of Artificial Intelligence software and hardware. Robin stated further: “In 2019 senior officials in leading Chinese oil companies visited Guyana for a series of high-level meetings including a three-hour one-on-one meeting with Joseph Harmon. Kevin Granger (nephew of David Granger) who has emerged as the de facto Minister of Oil was involved in all talks and negotiations.”
China’s grip on Guyana’s economy is reinforced by its state-owned CNOOC oil company which owns a 25 per cent stake in Guyana’s oil at the Stabroek Block. Quite conspicuous was the call by PNCR operatives following GECOM’s Clairmont Mingo’s false declaration which stunned the world, for Exxon to sell its shares to CNOOC. Robin noted, “key elements in Granger’s Administration are colluding with China for protection of personal gains made through corrupt practice.”
Grave suspicion has arisen over the likelihood of rigging because the PNCR Administration has blocked the duly accredited Carter Center and other foreign-based observer groups from participating in the May 2020 elections recount process (ERP) that started on May 6, 2020. Only the Caricom group was allowed to participate in the ERP. The PNCR operatives have been carrying out a recall movement against the Canadian High Commissioner because she, like other western diplomats, has stood firm in defence of democracy, and more importantly, because she was instrumental in getting the Canadian Government to fund the Caricom observer team much to the displeasure of the PNCR. Hence, their hostility towards the Canadian diplomat. However, public support for her and other diplomats is very strong.
In forging Guyana-China relations but not necessarily for the right reasons, the PNCR must pay due cognisance to the experience of countries like Zambia, where China controls 30 per cent of that country’s external debt. “Zambia is a textbook case of Chinese debt trap that affects 15 African countries,” said Jean-Christophe Servant. (12-11-2019). The Zambia Observer (1-28-2019) states, “relations with China is no longer a partnership but economic slavery.” Zambia is a classic example of a new form of colonialism being imposed by an authoritarian state whose modus operandi is no different from western imperialism.
Apart from the knowledge that the PNCR will have the support of China, they also believe that they would have the unquestioned loyalty and support of the armed forces. It was partly the armed forces’ support that allowed the PNCR to hold onto power for 18 months after the successful passage of the NCM (No-Confidence Motion). And this level of support by the armed forces has continued into the post-election saga.
Guyana cannot allow a few power-drunk and visionless people to lead the country into political darkness. Our destiny is largely tied up with the west. Does the PNCR really believe that the threat of sanctions by the west, if the elections results are rigged, could be neutralised if they fortify their embrace of China as their new “big brother?”
Dr Tara Singh