Guyana: Lethem – commentary


Posted By Stabroek staff On October 21, 2012 – Editorial

It is a pity perhaps that Governor Lethem’s idea of a railway link between the Rupununi and Georgetown in the 1940s was never followed up. Railways are arguably less destructive to our kind of environment than roads, and in this particular instance would have integrated the south of the country with the coast at a meaningful level at a much earlier stage. In addition, this would have occurred at a more leisurely pace than would have been possible with a highway. 

As things stand, Lethem in particular has fairly tenuous links with the centre of government to the north. These come in the form of the trail, air and the telephone, but in spite of them, Region Nine’s administrative centre is still a different universe from that of the coast, with its cross-border culture and independent dynamics.  The population on both sides of the frontier moves easily between Lethem and Bonfim, the Brazilian township, and even further afield to Boa Vista and Manaus. The Guybraz culture is alive and well, and various degrees of bilingualism are the norm among a significant proportion of the population of the two towns on either side of the Takutu River.    [ read more]

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  • de castro  On October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I did that journey from GT to LETHEM earlier this year as a “tourist”
    …a nightmare indeed…was stuck in MUD to LETHEM and again to GT.
    I promise to fly next trip…..
    The AUTOBUS goes daily to BOA VISTA and is quite comfortable and affordable….BON FIN to BOA VISTA.
    BON FIN has all the “infrastructure” neccessary in a township …even an
    HOTEL which offered affordable and clean and comfortable accommodation.

    I did see a few “ware-house” shops in LETHEM but did not visit them….
    OBVIOUSLY the BRAZILIANS shop there as its in GUYANA dollars with an exchange rate of 100 to the REAL….GUYANA dollars were accepted quite
    freely by the resturants and bars in BON FIN…even the TAXIs.

    If the decision was mine I would link the GUYDOLLAR to the REAL
    (real goes up guydollar also …. and the real is certainly on the UP..
    Even later going one step further …. using REALS as legal tender(money)
    in GUYANA:…..EQUADOR already uses USD as legal tender.
    But it is a “political-economic” decision so it may never happen.
    Sorry for my “negativity” …
    however I did enjoy the “adventure” of the journey GT to BON FIN.


  • Wycs  On October 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    We can begin to think of retracking from Roxignol to Georgetown. It will be a good idea to link Lethem to Georgetown but this is going to cost a very high price. These can be done in in sections each year. It will take a long time but in the end the inhabitants will be better off instead of those Mini buses which are very risky to travel with and will cost much less and safe too.

  • de castro  On October 23, 2012 at 9:18 am

    the problem with government “planning” is that it takes years to become “reality”
    my thinking is that BRAZIL can be encouraged to construct the highway jointly
    or alone from LETHEM to GT but whoever constructs must put a “toll” in the
    planning….people who use it most pays the most ! Waiting for a political or economic decision means it wont happen…..
    Even the “lunatic” Chavez would gladly donate a mtoroway from CARACAS to GT…..without IMF or WORLD BANK loans……if I cannot make “deals” with god
    I will make it with the “devil”

    I will personally act as the go between for “free” (expenses paid) as am fluent in SPANISH and in PORTUGUESE…..
    you are quite correct that it will take a long loong time if the government is to
    take the iniative so contract “out”…but with “tolls” ….those who use most pays most…it is fair.

    BRAZIL and VENEZUELA are our neighbours so lets all behave like good neighbours. If I happen to meet CHAVEZ on my next trip I will certainly discuss
    with him….he is on a “high” having just won another term of “power” !
    Hey CHAVEZ gives oil to CUBA for “free”….he does have a “charitable” side to his character……and even CUBA will now allow its citizens to travel in-out of CUBA “freely”…the world has changed and these leaders know it.

    sorry about the “politricks” but in todays world we have to be “aware” even if we are not “active” politically..


  • Wycs  On October 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm


    I was not againt your article. I think it is a good one. Yes, I agree with you if the countries next to Guyana can throw in their lot and assist with the railway and other cultural activities and from those countries (Brazil,Venezuela and even the other Guianas), Chavez is also giving oil to Guyana not free but at a reduced rate and to the other Caribbean countries. I like reading your articles: they do make alot of sense. And by the way I am not a politician,but I do make comments when things are not going right in Guyana. The party which gained power since i992 had accepted a bankrupted Economy To see what Guyana has become, with all the problems of the Oppositions, is once again a middle Class with substantial GDP growth from 2006 onwards; and we will have a reasonable GDP for this year once again regarding the opposition parties trying to destablise Guyana, has come a long way from the PNC regime and still showing immense progress as brought out by the IMF. Hope to read more of your interesting articles

  • de castro  On October 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

    thank you wycs …but i do prefer “disagreement” as I can learn more that way….(ex trade unionist in UK for 20+ years now retired-retarded ! )

    IMF or WORLD BANKING institutions are becoming “defunct” as the demand
    for their services decline…with all the “strings” attached !
    The world has changed and is changing at “mega” pace …hopefully for the “better” forever the optimist !
    Thanks for the news that CHAVEZ is helping GUYANA with OIL…and other carribean islands.
    Scientifically I am “excited” on my readings of today….
    Economically I am a bit “disappointed” … but
    “politically” I remain “optimist” about change…and the speed at which that is

    in politricks there are “oportunists” (Spain a good example today) TONY BLAIR
    comes to mind but the people who matter most are the senior “civil servants”
    who have to implement the change without the “political” bias !
    A diccicult call sometimes….!

    We have a world where “party politricks” is played out but the leaders of the parties have to be in tune with “puiblic opinions” or be “de-selected….

    all plusses for us the voters who give them the power


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