OPINION: Canadian company walks away with US$238M; now we begging for US$100M loan to build a bridge

Demerara Harbour Bridge – built 1970

Foreign investors, wherever they go, do so for two main reasons: to enrich the host country so that the people can benefit; and to enrich themselves. However, in Guyana, foreign investors behave like scavengers, raping our wealth and leaving us dry, pale and penniless and with wounds which would never heal.

Guyana Goldfields is a prime example. A group of Canadians came here and set up shop. Our government handed them huge swathes of prime mining lands and they enjoyed duty and tax-free concessions galore to the tune of billions. in Guyana dollars. 

The company then brought in a few pieces of machinery and tarpaulins tents. After a few mornings, after they had finished marketing what was given to them, they claim that they are encountering financial problems.

By the time Guyana could wink its eyes, the Canadian company sold out those same mining lands with full rights with all that tax concessions to a Chinese firm for US$238 million and Guyana had no say.

What Guyana got? Guyana got a begging bowl looking for half of that sum to build another harbour bridge across the Demerara River.

It is like someone coming to your house, sizing up your property, selling it and walking away a rich man. And you are left with nothing except a scavenger who will hammer the final nail in your coffin.

This is Guyana, Oh beautiful Guyana! A country as rich in resources as Saudi Arabia but whose leaders are allowing persons posing as foreign investors to rape us. It happens every time. One government after the other.

Despite all this wealth, Guyana has one COVID-19 testing machine. Despite all this wealth, our people continue to beg for food hampers every day. Despite all this wealth, the country is stretching its hands for donations.

The foreign crooks/investors who steal our wealth are able to dine in the finest restaurants, send their children to the finest schools and vacation in Dubai.
Meantime, many of our people go hungry, cannot afford to put a sandwich in their child’s lunch-kit and their idea of a holiday is sitting under a tree in their backyard.
When will we ever learn? More shocking examples to be exposed, keep reading!

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  • Leslie Chin  On 09/01/2020 at 3:38 am

    One thing Burnham did right was to nationalise the sugar and bauxite industries. Guyana Goldfields should have been told that they cannot sell the the land which was on lease but had to return it to the Guyana Government.

    • brandli62  On 09/01/2020 at 3:53 pm

      Nationalisation was the cool thing to do in the newly independent nations emerging in the 1960ties. They were typically led by socialist government who had no knowhow in running companies. As consequence, these governments ran the nationalised industries into the ground. Just have a look at the Guyanese bauxite and the sugar industries. Both would require major investments and smart, innovative management to become internationally competitive again. I can see neither on the horizon…..

    • wally n  On 09/01/2020 at 5:45 pm

      Nationalisation then, was the right thing to do…….but was to hasty…..had no control over the buyers, Guyanese were ready/ close to assuming control of the operation.
      Upside, interest has now start showing in the Jamacian production, might be wrong, might , but I think we had a much better product, and access???

      • kamtanblog  On 09/01/2020 at 6:06 pm

        In UK we had similar senario during
        Thatchers reign. Unions were holding
        country to ransom with king coal…UKs energy source. Coal was nationalised with most
        closing asimported coal from Poland was
        a better option.
        Left v right politricks !

        Today we have
        Labour nationalise
        Conservatives privatise

        All history now ….

        Our world is global not local anymore.

        Politricks !

  • BridgIt A Sam-Bailey  On 09/01/2020 at 3:57 am

    Things like this make me feel ashamed to be Guyanese. How could this be? We need the money, to help raise the standards of all Guyanese, and give our beautiful children a future.

    • kamtanblog  On 09/01/2020 at 4:13 am

      Guyana land of many waters

      Change we must as die we will !

      Change for a better Guyana for all …not the few
      but the masses. Guyana “a classless society”
      is not some “pipe dream !
      Nothing is impossible if you believe it is.

      Go guyanese go
      Achieve ..make your dreams come true

      Good luck


      • R C Champion de Créspigny  On 09/02/2020 at 10:46 am

        You took a whole lot of words in which to say nothing at all ! ! !

      • kamtanblog  On 09/02/2020 at 11:58 am

        Meant to motivate/encourage !

        Not criticising!

  • Georgy Porgy  On 09/01/2020 at 10:37 am

    It’s not the investors fault. They’re business people and every business person is looking to make a profit. It’s up to the Guyanese government to stop taking bribes and start doing what’s right for Guyana. Investors know that Guyana is a country that is corrupt and politicians have, over the years, enriched themselves with blood money. Easy pickings nah? So why not take what you can while you can. Guyanese must do whatever is necessary to make sure that Guyana is not being short changed by any business deal between a foreign investor and the government. Put pressure on the government to pass transparency laws so that business deals are scrutinized before signing on the dotted line and to ensure that Guyanese people are the beneficiaries, not the government officials.

  • wally n  On 09/01/2020 at 1:24 pm

    Here lies the flaw in that “pass transparency laws ” written by whom???? Lawyers playground, by the time this passes through the courts………next step WTO?? bigger crook.

  • brandli62  On 09/01/2020 at 3:48 pm

    Here a correction with regard to the article. There are at least two PCR machines for testing covid-19 infections in Guyana. One is located at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory. The other one is at the St. Josef Mercy Hospital in Georgetown. I had heard a few weeks ago that private diagnostic labs in Guyana were also looking into provide testing for SARS-Cov2 virus testing. The main problem has been so far getting reagents required for testing delivered to Guyana. The closing of the airports for passenger plains in response to the pandemic had reduced the number of planes arriving in Guyana. Passenger planes typically carry also substantial air cargo. Less passenger planes means less cargo transport capacity.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 09/01/2020 at 5:31 pm

    Brother Peter, a former Banker, wrote:

    The bureaucrats who sign these agreements are not competent enough to protect the National interest.

    I was privileged to sit on the board of directors for invest [country deleted] as the private sector representative and I can tell you that civil servants pay very little attention to detail.

    We had a business who wanted to lease some beach front property which was part of vast, lush valley and insisted that the Government include the following two clauses:

    1 ) They be allowed to use the land as collateral for loans
    2 ) The Government would not make any changes to the catchment of the valley without their permission.

    The Govt reps were all prepared to let the two clauses stand in the agreement. I was the lone dissenting voice.

    I found the first clause to be too loose and persuaded them to change it where they could only borrow on the lease for development on the land they were leasing.

    What the developer wanted would give them a free hand to use the money for other projects elsewhere leaving the country with a basket to fetch water.

    On my insistence, the second clause was struck out. If it were allowed, he would be able to control all future development of the valley.

    My years as a Banker taught me how to think like a thief.

    • kamtanblog  On 09/01/2020 at 5:39 pm

      Simple Simon says
      Set a thief to catch a thief !

      Hence prisons are aka University of Crime

  • Janet James  On 09/02/2020 at 3:16 am

    The only thing Guyanese politicians know re the PNC/APNU is to steal Guyanese
    property for themselves. Ask former PNC Home Minister Jeffrey Thomas he wants the coolie property, when the coolies oppose his claim,he gets the police to imprison the hard working coolie man. He then sells the property to a crook John Pyneandy. who is now making millions from renting a property he does not own. Where is the law and justice in Guyana?

  • detow  On 09/02/2020 at 8:13 am

    The greatest problem for Guyana has been/ is the self serving politicians on both sides of the divide, no exceptions. They go into politics with nothing and in short order they and their cohorts are living the high life in mansions and beach front resorts all paid for by the stupid, unsuspecting populace whose only focus is who de pon top while Guyanese as a whole suffer in silence.

  • Seelocgan Beharry  On 09/02/2020 at 1:55 pm

    These incidents occur again and again and in Guyana! Seems we have not learned anything from these recurring giveaways. We are supposed to be smart, yet we do the stupidest or dumbest but costly things. While we are fighting among ourselves, others steal our gold and resources.
    The contract should be challenged that we bargained in good faith, but were dealing with unscrupulous investors. No foreign company has the right to sell Guyanese land! We cannot do this to their country! Hire a good company to go after these fraudsters in court.
    The Persons who negotiated and approved such contracts should be tried for treason! Maybe, then we will take our jobs seriously and act in the interest of Guyana. No one is ever held responsible for such colossal blunders.
    Our wealth constantly enriches others – while leaving us with costly cleanups and environmental destruction.
    Such contracts should be transparent so that the opposition, citizens and Guyanese could see what is happening, We have been sold out too often by those who govern us.

  • brandli62  On 09/03/2020 at 3:20 am

    In my opinion there are two options. 1) Renegotiation of the contract as soon as the mining permit expires. Does anybody know how long the lease runs? 2) Use the EPA to enforce environmental regulation strictly. In addition, audit the company to make sure they pay taxes. If they violate the rules, terminate the lease.

    • kamtanblog  On 09/03/2020 at 4:36 am

      Simple Simon says

      “CORRUPTION” “collaboration”….

      Let’s see how many “anti corruption” laws
      are enacted by this new parliament and more
      importantly how they are interpreted/enforced
      by the institutions …poo poo law courts.

      Am not holding my breadth !
      My jury remain “out” !


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