Ensuring access to the opportunities from Guyana/ Brazil road link
By Stabroek staff September 25, 2009 in Business
Enough cannot be said about the significance of the creation of a permanent road link between Guyana and Brazil, particularly when one contemplates the economic potential for Guyana that reposes in access to the huge northern Brazilian market. Of course, it is the easiest thing in the world to sit and salivate about the potential without taking those initiatives that are necessary to capitalize on the opportunities. The fact of the matter is that no amount of crowing about the significance of the Takutu Bridge and the promise of a surfaced road from Lethem to Linden will make a difference. The actualization of potential is what this is all about and it is no secret that we, Guyana that is, have become expert at passing up opportunities.
There is, of course, some evidence that both the government and the private sector are moving to pay greater attention to Lethem and its centrality to the creation of much stronger trade and economic ties with Brazil. The point that must be made, however, is that the sheer scale of the opportunity which a road link with Brazil opens up, dictates that national planning and preparation be undertaken on a much broader scale to take account of what the opportunity means for the nation as a whole.
We can safely assume that Brazil has already carefully weighed its own strategic advantages to be derived from the creation of a permanent and reliable road link to and through Guyana. Brasilia sees that link from a perspective that goes far beyond its relations with Guyana. Quicker and easier sea access to regional and global markets is its primary objective and there is little doubt that its major manufacturers are already factoring the Guyana route into their forward planning. Nothing less, of course, can be expected from a country that is, in its own right, a major player in the global economy. Brazil is not likely to take too long to place its convoys of trucks laden with goods bound for foreign destinations on the new highway.
Just how far down the road we are in terms of a comprehensive assessment of how we intend to maximize the opportunities on our side is difficult to tell. One would imagine, for example, that sooner rather than later, the government and the private sector, together or separately, would create kind of mechanism, managed by a multi-skilled task force and assigned to do nothing else but contemplate all the various opportunities and to seek to determine just how we propose to take advantage of them. It is, we believe, that big a task.
On the other hand we cannot help but remind ourselves that tendencies towards sloth, prevarication and a predisposition for bureaucratizing things to death are standard official fare in Guyana. It is no secret, for example, that our archives are choking with tons of paper representing bilateral undertakings with Brazil, among other countries, on which we have failed to follow through. Those are missed opportunities many, perhaps most of which are unlikely to come again.
Up until now public discourse on the opportunities to be derived from the strengthening of our physical link with Brazil has been confined mostly how the manufacturing sector can increase the volume of its exports to Brazil. We need to move, and quickly, beyond this issue and to the level of contemplating how enhanced trade, economic and cultural relations with Brazil can create life-changing opportunities for ordinary Guyanese, including coastal wage earners, small and medium-sized business operators and unemployed persons.
Here, it is the government, in the first instance, that has the responsibility to fashion the paradigm for a genuine national discourse (not rushed consultations but a planned and deliberate discourse) on the subject of how Guyanese, as a whole, can benefit from the many and varied opportunities that repose in stronger physical ties with Brazil. It would altogether unacceptable if a situation were to emerge in which only those with the financial capacity to invest in those opportunities, that is, the major players in the private sector and those who otherwise have access liquidity are able to do so to the exclusion of the vast majority of ordinary Guyanese for whom the Brazil road link offers some perfectly good opportunities.
What the government must do if the opportunity is to bring real development and if there is to be any real meaning to the concept of good governance is to provide both the information and the logistical and various other forms of support that allows ordinary enterprising Guyanese access to those opportunities. That is how the government’s commitment to maximizing the opportunities afforded by a Guyana/Brazil road link should be measured.
The potential for small business development in areas such as hospitality services, snackettes and restaurants, small and medium-scale trading and the provision of translation and interpreting services, among others, is huge. Apart from these, new employment opportunities are likely to be opened up in existing sectors as well as in those new ones that are likely to be created to take advantage of the movement of goods and people in both directions.
It is therefore for the government to fashion a vision for the future of economic and other forms of relations with Brazil that makes the actualization of those opportunities possible and ensures that relevant information and support are widely available in order that every Guyanese may at least have the option of taking advantage of what ought to be an opportunity for all of us.
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Nota del editor del blog: Al referenciarse a la República Cooperativa de Guyana se deben de tener en cuenta los 159.500Km2, de territorios ubicados al oeste del río Esequibo conocidos con el nombre de Guayana Esequiba o Zona en Reclamación sujetos al Acuerdo de Ginebra del 17 de febrero de 1966.
Territorios estos sobre los cuales el gobierno Venezolano en representación de la Nación venezolana se reservo sus derechos sobre los territorios de la Guayana Esequiba en su nota del 26 de mayo de 1966 al reconocerse al nuevo Estado de Guyana .
“...por lo tanto, Venezuela reconoce como territorio del nuevo Estado, el que se sitúa al este de la margen derecha del río Esequibo y reitera ante la comunidad internacional, que se reserva expresamente sus derechos de soberanía territorial sobre la zona que se encuentra en la margen izquierda del precitado río; en consecuencia, el territorio de la Guayana Esequiba sobre el cual Venezuela se reserva expresamente sus derechos soberanos, limita al Este con el nuevo Estado de Guyana, a través de la línea del río Esequibo, tomando éste desde su nacimiento hasta su desembocadura en el Océano Atlántico...”