Guyana Politics: PPP “likely” to win next elections but tighter anti-corruption efforts needed- US expert

Dr. Evan Ellis

The United States (US) will have to ensure that the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) sticks to its promises to keep a lid on corruption, with the likelihood of that party winning next year’s general elections, a Senior Advisor at U.S. State Department says in a recent assessment of the political and security situation.

“At the same time, given concerns regarding corruption in prior PPP administrations, while the US should embrace and work in good faith with a future PPP government, it must do so with its eyes open, holding the PPP to account with respect to its commitments to transparency, democracy, and commitment to free market and the rule of law,” Dr. Robert Evan Ellis states in his contribution titled “Security Challenges in Guyana and the Government Response” in Journal of the Americas.         

Dr. Ellis, who was a Research Professor of Latin American Studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, forecasts “the likely return of the PPP to power “at the next general elections, but he did not give any reason for his conclusion. In that regard, he noted that the PPP’s leadership is talking about a new generation of infrastructure and other projects likely to be built by the Chinese and funded by the revenues from oil. Those projects include the Amaila Falls hydroelectric project and an interconnection to the Brazilian power grid – likely to be built by a major Chinese company active in Brazil such as China State Grid, or State Power Industrial Corporation-, the construction of a deep water port near Berbice, and an associated road and rail link to Brazil.

The research professor notes that allegations of corruption that had been levelled against the then PPP governments had been compounded by its connections to  Venezuela and China. “While the PPP governments which preceded it manifested relatively competent administration and a probusiness orientation, the accusations of corruption, and their level of cooperation with leftist populist regimes such as Venezuela, as well as the PRC, arguably caused discomfort in Washington.”

The State Department advisor, who helps formulate and coordinate foreign policy recommendations on Latin America and the Caribbean for the US Secretary of State, also suggests that Washington will have to find the right balance with China and Russia. Tracing China’s role in providing material assistance and training to the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force over the years, Ellis recommended that the US government provide support to Guyana at a reduced cost although the country will under normal circumstances be ineligible due to its expected huge earnings from its oil and gas sector.

“Nonetheless, the US must be prepared to ask for special exceptions to these laws, recognizing that extra-hemispheric competitors to the US, PRC (People’s Republic of China), and Russia are likely to increase their own offering for training and exchange programs for the Guyanese beyond what they currently provide.

While the US has a compelling case regarding the value of its own programs, and while the Guyanese government must naturally pay a fair share of their cost, the US must offer such programs at a cost and under conditions that make them attractive to the Guyanese government to work with the US and not just PRC as a partner,” said Ellis who has written numerous analyses of the political relations between Guyana and China.

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Comments

  • brandli62  On December 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    I am not sure whether it makes sense to go ahead with the Amalia falls hydroelectric dam project. In my humble opinion, Guyana should widely adopt solar energy (“solar panels on each home”), build a state-of-the-art garbage incinerator that will produce electricity at night, and then there is still natural gas to be used. It might make more sense to preserve the rain forest as long as the nation’s energy needs can be covered with the measures mentioned above.

  • guyaneseonline  On December 10, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    United States disassociates itself from political scientist’s dated, private comments on Guyana

    Posted by: Denis Chabrol in Demerara Waves – December 10, 2019

    The United States on Tuesday disassociated itself from dated, private comments by American Political Science Professor Robert Evan Ellis who has forecast a likely victory for the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) at the next general elections.

    The diplomatic mission said Ellis’ comments “in no way reflect an official position” and he had written those “last April before his employment with the U.S. State Department”.

    The American embassy said the US’ “only interest is in free, fair and peaceful elections on March 2, 2020.” “The outcome of the election is for the people of Guyana to decide,” the embassy added.

    The comments by Professor Ellis are contained in his paper titled “Security Challenges in Guyana and the Government Response” in Journal of the Americas, a US Air Force publication.

    The American embassy says it regrets any inconvenience caused by Ellis “dated comments.”

    The governing A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change coalition has flayed Professor Ellis for predicting that the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) is likely to be victorious at the next elections.

    The coalition says Professor Ellis is a ‘known asset’ of a certain lobbying firm in the United States that has been paid tens of millions of dollars by the PPP to whitewash its tainted and tattered image.

    Ellis says “with the likely return of the PPP to power”, that party was expected to use some of its oil revenues to hire Chinese companies to construct major infrastructural projects. He went on to say in his paper that the US should ensure that a PPP administration sticks to promises to address corruption and ensure transparency. “At the same time, given concerns regarding corruption in prior PPP administrations, while the US should embrace and work in good faith with a future PPP government, it must do so with its eyes open, holding the PPP to account with respect to its commitments to transparency, democracy, and commitment to free market and the rule of law”.

  • detow  On December 18, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    I wonder how much the PPPc paid this political XPERT to peddle his nonsense to the Guyanese people. He should be advised to pay attention to the mess that the USA now finds itself in and to leave Guyana’s destiny to its own people.

    I invite him to let us know what he thinks will happen in the upcoming elections in his own country, the USA, in 2021. He stands a better chance of making some sense in that arena.

    Always the USA poking their noses into matters that do not concern them.

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