Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Egypt and Venezuela
(Aired 26 November 2002)

    Whilst researching my commentary on hydro electric dams and their effects on the economies of countries, I specifically studied the effects of the Aswan high dam and the Venezuelan 16 Hydro dams, but in order to do that I had to research the economies of both of these countries.

   Egypt is 387 thousand square miles and Venezuela is 352 thousand square miles, almost the exactly the same but Egypt has 70 million people and Venezuela only has 24 million people.

   The arable lands of Egypt is an incredibly low 3 percent because 97 % is desert. Venezuela amazingly has exactly the same 3% arable land with 96% jungle. 1% has permanent crops. Incidentally what the hell do they need our Essequibo land for, if they can only develop 3% of theirs.

  So these two countries have exactly the same land area available to grow food crops and almost exactly the same total land mass. Actually Venezuela has much more water then Egypt, 11,600 square miles within their land mass is water, rivers, lakes etc. compared to 2,317 square miles in Egypt.

    The GDP per capita of Venezuela was 6100 US per annum; in other words in Venezuela the average income per person was 6,100 US dollars per year but Egypt was only 3700 US per person per year. The Venezuelan Exports in 2001 was 29.5 Billion US whilst Egypt was only 7.1 Billion. Egypt however has a huge tourist trade.

   The national budgets for these two countries are exactly the same with revenues of around 21 Billion US and expenditures of around 27 billion US the unemployment rate of the two countries were 12 and 14 % also the same.

   So these two countries have exactly the same land mass, exactly the same development of it, exactly the same budgets, but Egypt has 70 million people and Venezuela has 24 million people. This means that the 24 million people are living in a country which has a national budget that is to all intents and purposes identical to Egypt but only have around one third of the population of Egypt. But the Venezuelans export far more, three times more than Egypt.

   Now here is what caught my attention, 67% of the Venezuelan people live below the poverty line whilst only 22% in Egypt do.

   Given all that I have told you so far and if you have followed my amateurish presentation of the facts, I am after all no economist, how can this possibly be?

  Ladies and gentlemen I have studied the governmental systems of both countries and they both have similar governments very much like Guyana a Presidential system which to all intents and purposes controls everything, and so I could not account for this incredible phenomenon of why a rich country like Venezuela has so many of its people living in abject poverty. Unlike Guyana however Venezuela has a federal system of Government, Egypt has what is called a system of 26 governates which in effect is nearly the same thing. So all those people who think that federalism in Guyana can change anything, stay tuned.

   I am a catholic I have always been one and I do not intend to change but Egypt is 98% Sunni Muslim and Venezuela is 98% catholic. Are the Islamic leaders demanding that the pie be shared equitably in Egypt? Whilst the corruption in the Venezuelan system of governance would make our boys here look like mother Mary?

    After reflecting on the problem for some time and studying the social issues of the two countries, I have come to the conclusion that the stabilizing force in Egypt IS the Muslim faith and the power of the Muslim religious leaders who demand equitable governance, and get it. Venezuela has no such check and balance so the rich are very very rich and the poor are very very poor.

   So the point of this comment is this, corruption destroys countries just as effectively as WARS.  This is probably true of almost all Latin American states and that is why most of them are turning to the left, first Venezuela, then Brazil and now Ecuador.

   The problem is that even when they do, nothing changes because their system of governance does not change, the Chavezs of this world will not change their system of government, to allow the rule of law to stand supreme and allow the Parliament and therefore the people of the nation to have some say in what goes on, the media are to all intents and purposes muzzled and are not allowed access to governmental data so that they can point out the enormous inequity that exists within these countries, so they, like us, have democratic elections to decide who the dictators and their henchmen will be for the next 5 years and all they do is fill their own pockets during that period. But the common man always ends up with the dirty end of the stick. No matter what promises were made by these leftist leaders who promise to change the huge disparity between the rich and the poor, nothing changes.

    At this point let me tell you of a great Guyanese even though he was born in Trinidad, I, consider him a great Guyanese and who has been by far the most valuable asset in our sugar industry for nearly 33 years, he is Dr. Ian Mc Donald, in his Ian on Sunday articles he has been hinting at this phenomena of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer for at least 10 years. What he says is true but what I am saying here is that countries destroy themselves with greed and corruption from WITHIN, every much as devastatingly as outside forces.

   The CIA factbook for Egypt tells us, that the country of the Pharos have listened to the World Bank and the IMF and over the past 20 years they have tightened up on their administrative spending and are prospering as a result of it.

    When dictators like Chavez get into power, they portray themselves as socialists who will give more to the poor people of the country, they never do. It is just rhetoric and lies to get them elected by playing on the enormous sympathy of the poor.

    This is a good example for Guyana, no amount of oil we will find, no amount of hydro power we will generate, no amount of extra sugar we will export will help us if we do not establish a system of government that guarantees equal rights under the law to the citizens of this country, everything starts there.

    With a completely impartial, fair and functioning legal system that is willing, ready and able to prosecute any public official for misdemeanor in public office, and lock them up if found guilty of stealing our money or failure to perform their functions with impartiality and fairness, only then will we make them accountable, only then will they discharge their stated mandate to serve the people of this country, all of us regardless of race. That is where we start.

   The Egyptians are one people the Muslim religion alone guarantees it but their history dating back over 6 thousand years is also important and therefore some measure of equity exists there, countries like ours and Venezuela which do not have these stabilizing phenomena must establish something that will guarantee it. And that is the rule of law.  

    Let me give you an example, one evening I was sitting with my family having dinner and I was told that there were some women at my gate who wanted to see me, after the usual security toing and frowing I decided to see them. They were Guyanese women and men mostly women who are married to Cuban professionals mostly doctors, but their spouses were being denied a work permit in Guyana even though they are married to Guyanese women, and the allegation they are making is that their constitutional rights are being violated because of an obnoxious agreement that exists between our government and the Cuban government, to deny any Cuban even though they are married to a Guyanese from working and living here. If true ladies and gentlemen, these people's Constitutional rights are being trampled upon. Can we ask the Americans, the Canadians or the British to disallow any Guyanese from getting a Green card or a work permit in those countries because it was the free educational system in Guyana that trained them? You all know the answer to that, they will tell us to go to hell, so if we are short of professionals and a Cuban doctor marries a Guyanese woman and wants to live and work here, how dare this government make an arrangement with the Cuban government that is unconstitutional to its citizens, it is gross eyepass.

   I don't care how many Cuban doctors come here to help us with our ailing Public Hospital, I don't care how many Guyanese are given scholarships in Cuba, the students all want to come back home anyway since I am informed that the conditions in Cuba are atrocious, the law is the law and it is being broken at its most fundamental level, the constitution. But it defines the problem, the law even the constitution means nothing to those who run this country and that is why our country IS and has been, falling to pieces.