Highways to happiness …in the Budget

As your Eyewitness has been emphasising, the PPP Government is focusing on building up our infrastructure – starting with highways. For a country like Guyana, highways aren’t only necessary – they’re THE threshold hurdle that must be cleared if we’re to make anything of our vaunted “potential”, that’s been lying dormant forever. It wasn’t for nothing that the Manifesto of the early capitalist party – D’Aguiar’s UF – was dubbed “Highways to Happiness”. Heavily backed by American anti-communists, they knew that America only reached its potential after its interior – all the way to the Pacific – was opened up by railways and highways!! And they did build the G/town-Linden, Corentyne and WC Demerara Highways for their client Burnham!!
So, what are we to get going with immediately with the Budget’s passage – after its critique (and criticisms with alternative suggestions, rather than fistfights and whistles?) by next week? Your Eyewitness is most excited by that Linden-to-Mahdia section being done as a precursor to taking the highway all the way to Lethem. Let’s not forget that this began as a cattle trail from the Rupununi to Georgetown when we had some of the largest ranches in the world!! We’ll never get the benefits of the potential of our Southern Savannahs unless we get an asphalted highway from Georgetown to the Takutu Bridge.
Since 1977, when Burnham and Yesu went to Brazil, we were promised the latter would fund the job – cause it would benefit them as much as it would do us. But they never did! Imagine their savings if they could cut out two weeks from their shipping of industrial goods from their Amazonian city of Manaus? We, of course, would profit from the fees for all those 18-wheelers, and port fees from our deep water harbour!! Back at the turn of the last century, there had been talk of a rail link along that route, and maybe this also should be put on the table. It still makes more sense for bulk shipments.
But your Eyewitness is more than a tad confused about that Ogle-to-Diamond bypass Highway, the bid for which has just been accepted by the Indian Government. They’d offered a line of credit of US$50M all the way back to Donald Ramotar’s regime. But it was taken over by the PNC after 2015. They expanded the scope of the project, and Jordan said the cost skyrocketed to US$175M!! The engineer said it would be more like US$105M. Nothing happened, of course!! It was the PNC!!
Now we hear that against the engineer’s estimate of US$48.6 million, all the bids were more than twice that, with the winning one being US$111,976,119!!
Would the engineer care to comment? We have to provide US$63M more!

…not with renewables!
Those folks agitating for us to leave our oil under the ocean ought to look where the price of oil’s headed – up, up and awaaaaay!! And folks in the know predict it’ll hit US$100/barrel any day now…and remain there. Reason? Well, it’s back to economic basics, folks – supply and demand and their intersecting graphs!! So many of the oil majors have given up on new fields, demand for oil’s outstripping supply, and the only direction prices can go is north!!
So what happened to the oil-leavers’ advice to switch to renewables?? The renewables are also going sky-high, not only because of larger demands, but also of falling supplies! The rare-earths, copper and other materials for renewables are also finite, and demand’s outstripping demand.
Have you checked where solar panels’ prices are headed? If oil is going to be cheaper than renewables, guess what industry would pick??
Drill baby, drill!!

…with neighbours
Have you noticed that, of recent, our relations with Suriname are improving exponentially, while with Trinidad they’re heading south? It’s not only because of the recent local content flap.
Remember how Trinis dissed us while the Surinamese just took us in??