Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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Deep Water Harbour
(Aired 25 April 2015)

    This country badly needs a deep water harbour. Everything we buy for our daily food, clothing fertilizers, machinery needs or indeed anything we export sugar, rice has to be transferred in Trinidad or Suriname to smaller vessels coming in, and larger vessels going out since the large ocean going Panamax vessels cannot cross the shallow silted up 15 ft deep at high tide Demerara bar; they need at least 30 ft draft. As a result everything we buy from abroad costs an estimated 30% more in transportation costs, and everything we export − rice, sugar, bauxite − also costs more since they have to be transhipped somewhere to the larger ocean going vessels, leaving less foreign exchange for the national purse. This situation is about to become worse since the Panama Canal is currently being redug to accommodate ships with a draft of 50 ft which is the new standard.

     The PPP doesn't have time to address this important national Issue; they are too busy building a Marriott Hotel, a Hopeless Canal, a sugar factory to which they cannot deliver cane and spending millions of dollars on GPL which does not get better with the expenditure,  these projects give the Guyanese people a false sense of achievement, when in fact they are just ways to put money into corrupt pockets.

   In March 2013 I was pleased to see that a very large delegation of Brazilians were entertained by a similarly large delegation from Guyana, to discuss the building of a deep water harbour, a hydroelectric dam and the road from Brazil to the Guyana coast, in 2013 in a letter to the newspaper I said this "I however hold no delusions that this recent initiative by the Brazilians will finally bear fruit, and at the end of the process Guyana will be left out and the Brazilians, fed up of begging us for all of the 20 years the PPP has been in office to help them get badly needed access to the Atlantic, will take their business and development to Suriname, and Guyana would have lost once more. We have been given an ultimatum; if by June we don't agree to this path to certain development, the Brazilians will take their business to Suriname" well March 2013 came and went and as I predicted nothing happened we are still procrastinating.

I have spoken and written about this before. This and the hydroelectric dam the Brazilians want to build here are, these are very large development projects, and the Brazilians are proposing to spend their dollars in partnership with Guyana for the mutual benefit of both countries. It's not like the Chinese who are lending us money to do non-productive national projects which are riddled with corruption to control us when the time comes when we owe them too much to pay it back doing these uneconomical projects. The road to Amaila is a good example initially given to a contractor who had not experience in building roads we were told that the road will cost 15 million US several tears we are now told it has cost 41 million and is not complete.

After thinking on the matter for some time, I am convinced that the PPP government does not want these developments with Brazil, since they will be partnerships and clearly the Brazilians will not just give the Guyana government the money to do these projects, but they will want to do them themselves, with Guyana providing the land and Brazil providing the money and the infrastructure as equal partners. The Brazilians need this development badly, so we would have the upper hand in these negotiations.

If this were to happen there will be no money to be made on corrupt contracts. With the money which is lent to us by China there is very little accountability. In the meantime corrupt officials are the only ones benefiting from all of this. So we will continue without the Brazilians as usual, and Guyanese will be left poor and backward as usual, whilst the Brazilians take their business to Suriname enriching that country and its people.

   But if we were to build a deep water Harbour where would we put it? it would have to be in Demerara or the Essequibo we have an enormous amount of siltation going on in our rivers so building these deep water harbour inside our rivers even the Essequibo will have to be accompanied by ongoing de-silting exercises which may prove to be onerous and expensive in view of the high level of siltation which occurs here, but we don't have to, other countries are building deep water harbours going out into the ocean as we should, this is a good example of one such harbour I found in the internet and it is by no means unique there are other counties which are doing this since it has become an urgent matter and costs a lot if everything has to be trans shipped to smaller vessels to get to their ultimate destination. If we had to build such a port where would we build it in demerara it would have to be a location with a lot of space going out to the Atlantic with buildings which were old and mostly used by government, which can be moved to make way for the ancillaries for this huge project , it would have to be here [picture] but wait a minute! We can't build it there the PPP has built the Marriott there! How long will we have to tolerate this unquenchable greed which is destroying our country? How long will the Guyanese people look on, without protest, as the PPP sells us down the drain? How long will the Guyana voters take to realise that Guyana is being led down a path of poverty just to enrich a few.  On May 11th you know what you have to do.