Recently our President went to India to discover his roots and to
strengthen economic ties with that country. I have to do this commentary
carefully since I do not want to be accused of making disparaging remarks about
mother India since around 40%
of our people are Hindus and look to that country as their real motherland, but
it is not, and it never will be, Guyana is their motherland. So whatever I say about India tonight is not an attack on that ancient
and honoured country but to put India, today, in perspective for those who want to have her as an
More and more I see disturbing trends of
our Government pursuing an international agenda which can be inimical to our
interests as a nation in international matters, and which as a Guyanese I am
not comfortable with.
We bring Chavez here at a time when he
is perceived by the US as a
problem in this hemisphere, since he is too close to Castro in Cuba, now he wants to have a love affair
with our communist PPP. We ourselves are not on great terms with the US since two of our ministers and one
diplomat are in the US's
black book, Our President runs off to India to find his roots and to see if he can beg India for help. But notwithstanding that Jagdeo has visited Brazil twice
within the last year, I perceive that progress of establishing real economic
partnerships with Brazil is very much on the back burner whilst we are perusing
other international agenda which can harm us or at best be unproductive.
So let's look at these two countries
India and Brazil let us see which of them we should be seeking economic
alliances with, India is about 3.3 million square Km in size whilst Brazil is
8.5 million square KM, Brazil is therefore about 2.6 times bigger.
Brazil has a population of around 182 million people whilst India has a population of 1 billion and 46
The life expectancy in India is 63.6 years whilst Brazil is 71.13 years so the Brazilians
enjoy a better standard of living with better medical facilities which allows
their citizens to live a better, longer life.
The Brazilian Population is 55% white;
38% mixed races; 6% Black and 1% other- Amerindian etc. the Indian population
is 72% Indian-Aryan, 25% Dravidian and 3%- Mongol and other.
The GDP of Brazil is 1.6 trillion US
dollars whilst the GDP of India is 2.6 Trillion US dollars.
The annual budget of Brazil is revenues of $100.6 billion US
and expenditures of $91.6 Billion US dollars, one of the few countries on the
planet which has a balanced budget.
The budget of India is revenues of $48.3 Billion but expenditures of 78.2 Billion
dollars; this country is in deficit each year for a sum of nearly 63% of its
total annual budget. Its GDP growth of 4.3 over the past 14 years has only had
the effect of reducing the amount of people living below the poverty line from
35% to 25% today.
Incredibly since India is perceived as a place which has a
high moral standard in the way its films etc. are portrayed, has an incidence
of HIV of 0.8%; 4 million people in India are infected with HIV and last year
310,000 of them died from it, whilst in the perceived decadent Brazil the HIV
infection rate is only 0.7% with 610,00 people infected and 8400 dying from it
last year, because of its population and the illiteracy rate of India, HIV is
becoming a huge problem as it is in China.
The literacy rate of India is a total of
59.5 % with the males being 70.2 % literate and its females 48.3 % literate;
whilst Brazil is kinder to its women folk with a total literacy rate of 86.4%; the
males 86.1% literate and females 86.6% literate, making it one of the few
countries where the female literacy rate is higher than the males.
Incidentally 82% of all power generated
in Brazil is from Hydro power whilst
82% of all power in India is
generated by fossil fuel.
The income per capita in Brazil is 7600
US with an unemployment rate of 6.4 % with around 22% of its people living
below the poverty line, whilst India's income per capita is 2600 US with an unemployment
rate of 8.8% and 25 % living below the poverty line. India is therefore poorer with more unemployed people with a higher
amount of its people living in abject poverty.
Now we come to the really important
matter Brazil is our neighbour
and wants something that we have, access to the Atlantic
Ocean, they are less than 400 miles away and they want
us as their partners; why are we not playing this great hand we have been
dealt, is it because we want to Indianise Guyana more? That can be the only explanation, and if it is true then we
are bigger fools than I thought, I would have no problem if we Indainsed Guyana
if I saw benefits from it, since I have nothing against India, part of my
ancestry comes from there also, but there is nothing for us in India, the place
is too small for its population which has reached saturation, it is spending
more then it is earning as revenues, its growth rate of 4.3% is only having the
effect of reducing its level of poverty, and it is only over the past 12 years
or so that they have liberalised their investment code by attracting overseas
investment which has contributed in no insignificant manner to the 6% growth,
but they still have serious problems of their own, so why do we think that they
can help us? They see us as a market for Indian expertise and goods, that is
We need help to build this country that
means massive investment, hydropower, a deep water harbour and to increase our revenue
For Brazilan goods and commodities
passing to and from Brazil through our property they have to pay tolls, they
have to pay wharfing fees etc. and they stand prepared to give us these
benefits which can bring big money for our people in employment, Hydro power and
a deepwater harbour which can reduce our cost of electricity and shipping of
our goods, it can also lead to our smelting our own Bauxite since the road from
Brazil incorporates a 600 Megawatt hydroelectric plant at Turtruba in the upper
Mazaruni, this Hydro plant will have a dam 180 ft high and 4 kilometres wide,
will take 2 years to construct and will supply power to Boa Vista and the Linden,
Demerara, Berbice interconnected system, this dam will in time be capable of
producing 1500 Megawatts of power enough to smelt all of the bauxite we, and
the Brazilians have, and most importantly it will be on our property so they
will have to pay us rent. Since the catchments area for this dam will be 900
square kilometres. This is a 1.25 Billion US dollar investment, the deep water
harbour in Guyana will cost 120
million US dollars and the road will cost 300 million US, the Brazilians are
estimating to ship nearly 1 million metric tons of aluminium alone [not
bauxite] through Guyana
annually. Can you believe the opportunities this will create for us Guyanese,
so why all of the procrastination? Is it because we fear losing our sovereignty?
This cannot happen since there are countless examples elsewhere where
agreements exist for Oil, Natural Gas, roads etc to pass through countries
which receive millions in revenues whilst the pipelines and roads belong to the
country of origin. Finally which fool will make an agreement which does not
pass ownership of all assets to Guyana after say 15-20 years? So I ask the question again, what the
hell are we doing?