Guyana, the NEW Frontier

Submitted by The Mahogany Coconut Group

A decade ago, many Guyanese living in the Diaspora, would have been negative about returning home. They feared mostly the racial and political tensions. Some sought to live in other Caribbean islands and were often accused of accepting lower wages than the workers in those countries. In many ways, Guyana had become the butt of many “island jokes” about its weak currency and shortage of consumer goods, taken for granted throughout the region.

Those travelling to Guyana on vacations and business often were amazed that Guyanese themselves, were so negative about such a bountiful land with natural resources not found in any other country in the region. They also marvelled at the gracious manner of the Guyanese people, even in the toughest of times. The Guyanese are known for their excellent cuisine and their incredible crafts people. They have long established themselves as intellectual giants in the region, by having Caribbean thinkers such as Walter Rodney. On the cricket field they can claim such icons as Clive Lloyd and Lance Gibbs among others. In both the pre-and post-independence eras, they have given the region politicians such as Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, whose political battles are still studied by engaging university students and political historians.

Ironically, it was these battles that eventually burst the socio-economic seams of Guyana and threw it into a social, economic and political turmoil for over three decades, causing the migration of thousands of citizens, seeking stability elsewhere. This movement resulted in some of its better educated and skilled citizens causing a technical and academic brain drain, that is now hopefully being impeded by a more settled political environment and recent discoveries of oil and other resources, that most observers believe, will push Guyana to the top of the CARICOM “best” off countries, in the very near future.

It is widely known that even during the very testing period, there was considerable trading between Guyanese and other Caribbean business persons. These small business persons traded in: gold, fisheries lumber and fruits. Pine apples, shrimp and green heart wood and buildings(houses) were often imported from Guyana and the quality of these products guaranteed them a ready market. Guyanese are therefore considered to be extremely skilful business people and this talent to survive during the now fading tough period, will be most useful as their country continues to improve. It was a classical example of Caribbean people’s resourcefulness despite the failings of the floundering collective political managerial class.

We therefore welcome the changing fortunes of this magnificent country. With most other economies gasping for air and many heading to international loan sharks such as the IMF, Guyana may be the only real frontier for those who want to remain in the region. At the 1986 CARICOM Heads of Government Conference Errol Barrow declared that, “We are a family of islands nestling closely under the shelter of the great Cooperative Republic of Guyana. And this fact of regional togetherness is lived everyday by ordinary West Indian men and women.”

His words might just be proven more profound than he ever imagined.

William Skinner, Communication Officer, Mahogany Coconut Group. 1/16/18

48 comments

  • I have seen “Guyana” tossed around several ‘investment opportunities recently’. Many relating to oil and associated operations.
    Yet, what exactly is the history and current status between the international loan sharks, the IMF, and Guyana? Seems the IMF is still very much in play?

    Like

  • As important is the current state of racial conflict in Guyana which has been the source of many a conflict and tension through the years.

    BTW, any feedback on Kyffin’s investment in Guyana?

    Like

  • ” Last December, the Director of the Santa Fe Complex, had shared with this newspaper future plans for the farm, during a visit to the 29,000-acre complex.

    He had explained that after six years and an investment of over $1.3B to date, they were awaiting government’s go ahead for an additional 20,000 acres of land to begin cattle rearing early this year. ”

    https://www.stabroeknews.com/2017/news/stories/07/10/santa-fe-farm-seeking-higher-ground-cattle-project/

    Like

  • Now that it looks like they have found oil in substantial quantities in Guyana or in its territorial waters, they better mind John Perkins warning and lookout for the economic hit men putting in an appearance (or the jackals if the economic hit men fail to get desired results).

    Like

  • It is interesting to note that Belize recently halted offshore oil exploration to protect the reefs. It is refreshing to see some value the protection of the natural habitat.

    >

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  • @ David,

    “The world’s hottest offshore prospect for oil companies is off the coast of Guyana, where a string of major discoveries has drawn hundreds of millions of dollars in a quest for crude.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-17/trump-s-offshore-oil-plan-will-struggle-to-lure-rigs-from-guyana

    Like

  • There is so much tension in Guyana.The young are leaving.Racial tensions are kept on the front burner by the Indian cabal PPP and there is too much crime and violence.Guyana used to be a nice country.Unfortunately like Trinidad the Guyanese politician of Indian descent manipulate their ‘constituency’so that the Indian thinks he is Indian as opposed to being Guyanese,while the Guyanese of African descent identifies as being Guyanese.

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  • Chavez put the oil barons on the run from Venezuela so they have cast their lean and hungry looks at Guyana, the question will the people get to benefit?

    On the back burner for a suddenly oil producing Guyana is Venezuela’s claim to more than half the country, this is not going to be easily resolved.

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  • Isn’t it ironic that a country labeled as the breadbasket of CARICOM is now actively engaged in oil exploration?

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  • For many years now I have been hearing disparaging remarks about Guyana and the Guyanese here in Barbados. Many years ago the workers here in Barbados went to Guyana to make better money. But the tables had turned for the last 30 years or so which caused the Guyanese to want to come here. Now the tables are turning again and it will not be long before Barbadian will want to go to Guyana to make more money.

    Like

  • Pingback: Guyana, the NEW Frontier – on the Barbados Underground Blog

  • We are unconvinced that the recent history of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana portends a departure from what happened previously.

    To us, the last government mired the country more deeply into an Indo-Afrikan schism. This has served to reinforce certain perceptions about the Burnham legacy.

    And the current government is led by a civil servant mentality incapable of creative instinct.

    Recent petroleum discoveries, given its geo-strategic role, are unlikely to deliver the benefits some may believe.

    We wonder if the people know that less than 10% of oil receipts, based on foreign oil company calculations, are payable as royalties.

    Given the blinding levels of corruption in Guyana, unremitting national inertia, we will not be surprised if the country’s natural wealth continues to be its curse.

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  • Guyana rocks the Caribbean! The rising star already attracts the best Barbadian lawyers, economists and businessmen to stay and work there. Only the losers stay behind.

    Fantastic place with lots of new opportunities. Provided, you have enough guards, barbed wire, dogs and big guns.

    Barbadians, be aware! Without very drastic changes like firing 10,000 civil servants (also appointed lazy laggards) and fixing sewage this island will soon look like Guyana furing the 1980s.

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  • @John Everatt January 18, 2018 at 1:35 AM

    Soon we will see lazy Barbadian judges working as employed lawyers in Guyana, Barbadian pastors in the gambling industry and female Barbadian civil servants in brothels – and that all in Guyana, the new Saudi Arabia of the Caribbean.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Tron January 18, 2018 at 8:19 AM
    “Barbadians, be aware! Without very drastic changes like firing 10,000 civil servants (also appointed lazy laggards) and fixing sewage this island will soon look like Guyana furing the 1980s.”

    So what would the potential oil exploration bonanza off Guyana have for the much bragged about the oil exploration programme off the Tourism West Coast of Barbados?

    We suspect that with the Guyana find (and the extremely large reserves still in Venezuela waiting on regime change) the Bajan economic dream of striking black gold in abundance will be dashed overboard.

    Given the growing concerns about climate change caused by the heavy use of fossil based fuels we don’t think Guyana prospects are too rosy economically unless there are massive gas fields to be tapped.

    Crude for the making heavy fuels (including the production of gasoline with rise of the electric-powered car and the descent of the ICE) has a rather ‘dark’ uncertain future.

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  • David….. you & Mr. Skinner are correct. Guyana has unlimited potential but we’ve been hearing that for the past 30-40 years & I am afraid we will be hearing the same for the next 30-40 years!

    Lack of leadership, a relative small population per land area, an unstable & military-like neighbor, a country the size of USA to the south, etc….. all contribute to Guyana ‘lagging’ behind.

    Just think….. Brazil has a population of just over 210M ….. if a mere 0.1% flowed/moved north for a better opportunity (62% under 29 yrs old) ….. Guyanese outnumbered!!! Been to Georgetown lately…??? …… seen ‘little Brazil’…. Portuguese shops, road signs…….. it’s coming…..Guyana, 11th state of Brazil!!!

    Like

  • Bernard Codrington

    New frontier? We missed that boat a long time ago. I think we need to look for a different non land frontier. We need to think a little more creatively.

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  • Mike Romock (engineer)

    Are you serious? No, you’re not.

    Guyana is one of the worst places to live in the entire western hemisphere. It has the region’s highest rate of migration. Basically, if you have any possibility of leaving, you leave. Everybody with half a brain leaves, unless they have a financial interest in staying.

    Georgetown is hideous.

    The whole place is just wretched. It’s understandable why almost every Guyanese wants to live somewhere else.

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  • Mike Romock (engineer)

    There is, though, a solution to this hideous wretchedness …

    Like

  • Mike,

    Georgetown is one of the last adventurous places on earth. Like the Congo and Afghanistan. Surely nothing for funky Barbadian men.

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  • On another front…

    “Loblaw Companies Ltd. and the Canada Revenue Agency faced off in a Toronto court Wednesday in a $404-million dispute involving allegations that the grocery giant’s Barbadian banking subsidiary was misused for tax avoidance.” fyi… its called Glenhuron Bank

    Like

  • I note within the GEL Annual Report, the AGM is to be “addressed” by 3 groups. One is a Canadian nanotechnology firm in which GEL has already invested, one of the other 2 is a firm involved in Guyanese oil/gas.

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  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Tron January 18, 2018 at 1:33 PM

    Miracles never cease.

    The Guyanese might just be that lucky as to return the’ welcoming’ greeting to Bajans by telling the starving Bajes (no flying-fish to eat or imported meal to buy):
    ‘Ever so welcome (Baje) but wait fuh a call from de Bana bai!’

    Like

  • It still great depends on what you are looking for
    If you live in any part of the world
    Human would always talk bad than say goo things
    May God bless every human in this world

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  • NorthernObserver January 18, 2018 at 1:59 PM #

    “Loblaw Companies Ltd. and the Canada Revenue Agency faced off in a Toronto court Wednesday in a $404-million dispute involving allegations that the grocery giant’s Barbadian banking subsidiary was misused for tax avoidance.” fyi… its called Glenhuron Bank (Quote)

    Surely something is wrong. Our banking regulation is the best in the world. Or is it? Weren’t we here before with AIG and Hank Greenberg? That was ten years ago.
    A nation in denial.

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  • The battle is on…Guyana the big frontier….or Barbados the big affront…pick your poison

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  • @HA
    “Our banking regulation is the best in the world”
    this issue is about tax avoidance IN CANADA. And without all the facts, relates to Glenhuron not operating as a bank (a piggy bank maybe) in the eyes of the CRA (our IRS). Hence, some investment income is/was taxable in Canada, the basis of the lawsuit. I am unsure, in the CRA’s eyes, there was anything to be regulated (hence their claim it was a Bank by name alone)
    Not intimate with AIG-Greenberg, though I know news of a settlement was in the news last year.

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  • NorthernObserver January 18, 2018 at 6:37 PM #

    “…………in a $404-million dispute involving allegations that the grocery giant’s Barbadian banking subsidiary was misused for tax avoidance.” fyi… its called Glenhuron Bank (Quote)

    A banking subsidiary/branch based in Barbados should be regulated by the local authorities, whatever its tax obligations to its home country.

    Like

  • I think you are missing the point.
    If I bought the Mount Gay Distillery and called it the Rum Bank, should it be regulated as a bank?
    The claim is because it did not operate as a Bank, other than to facilitate the flow of funds from associated companies, it was not a bank per se, and hence certain investment income is/should be taxable.

    Like

  • NorthernObserver January 18, 2018 at 7:13 PM #

    I think you are missing the point.

    If I bought the Mount Gay Distillery and called it the Rum Bank, should it be regulated as a bank?(Quote)

    If a new corporate body is registered in Barbados as a bank, then it should be regulated as a bank.
    A bank has a specific meaning in law (whether investment or retail). As a generic name for a rum distillery or rum shop, the register of companies makes that decision.
    I know nothing of the company, but take what you said as fact: that there is a corporate body that is (or was) registered as a bank called Glenhuron Bank. If true, then it should be regulated as a bank.

    Like

  • Hal you are too much for me.
    I would like to see you regulate a Sperm Bank….LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  • NorthernObserver January 18, 2018 at 7:32 PM #

    I would like to see you regulate a Sperm Bank….LOL(Quote)

    In the UK a Sperm Bank is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The currency may be sperm, but it is still regulated.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Loblaws in $400M tax fight with CRA over claims it set up bogus offshore bank

    Barbados transactions were designed to ‘circumvent’ the Income Tax Act, government alleges

    ” Loblaws is facing scrutiny on other fronts as well, including its recent admission to a price-fixing scheme on the sale of bread in Canada,
    as well as revelations in the Paradise Papers exposing the company’s use of offshore havens to shield profits. ”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/loblaws-cra-glenhuron-bank-barbados-tax-1.4490564

    Maybe it is time for Barbados to face reality and get out of the Tax avoidance business.

    Like

  • as I said too much….and the body which regulates exterior claddings and their design and installation?

    Like

  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    @ GreenMonkey January 17, 2018 at 8:55 PM,

    Green Monkey posted a most interesting link at 8:55 PM. It featured an agent of change, John Perkins, an “Economic Hitman”; a name derived by the Americans. Perkins, describes in detail the USA methodology to economically conquer those countries rich in natural resources. Firstly, they employ an “Economic Hitman” to encourage a government to comply with their demands in the form of loans, bribes and threats; should this fail they then employ a “jackal” to assassinate the person standing in their way; should this method fail they then dispatch their army to remove the individual or group who is blocking their way in their attempt to access those natural resources.

    It would appear to me that we in Barbados have received numerous visits from many different “Economic Hitmen”. Our government accepted the numerous loans and bribes that came their way. Perkins, stated that once a country becomes bankrupt, lending institutions will force them into a cul-de-sac and demand that they sell their assets –
    normally after their currency has become devalued.

    So be prepared for a big sell of our family silver. The vultures are gathering and its only a matter of time before they get their prey. Let’s hope that the government of Guyana is observing our travails and will not fall into the same trap to that of our government.

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  • NorthernObserver

    I read some details of that case……..the CRA is alleging Loblaws Financial Holdings incorporated an offshore company called Loblaws Inc………then subsequently changed the name to Glenhuron Bank Ltd. (GBL) and obtained a Barbados banking license for the purpose of “appearing to be a foreign bank in Barbados in order to circumvent” the rules.

    The CRA is also alleging that Loblaws used money from its subsidiary grocery businesses to fund GBL, which used the money to “invest in financial derivatives including interest and currency swaps.”

    It is important to note that GBL was not allowed to accept deposits from or provide international financial services to Barbados residents.

    Like

  • millertheanunnaki

    @ Talking Loud Saying Nothing January 18, 2018 at 8:11 PM
    “So be prepared for a big sell of our family silver. The vultures are gathering and its only a matter of time before they get their prey. Let’s hope that the government of Guyana is observing our travails and will not fall into the same trap to that of our government.

    A very good analysis of the MO of economic terrorists.

    The problem, though, is that in the case of the seriously wounded Barbados the circling vultures would have nothing to feed on other that the skin and bones of a most emaciated overly indebted economy.

    Fortunately for Barbados it can always offer up as a peace offering the last remaining organ of independence- that liver of tourism its only hope of survival- called the GAIA to be aptly renamed the only runway to Shithole.

    Like

  • So the CRA is taking on Galen Weston and Loblaws, why do I get the feeling that this game has been called?

    The taxpayers better file to get their $25.00 “gift” card.

    Like

  • @ Sargeant,

    Barbados is again getting bad publicity being branded a Tax Haven for a company that has

    admitted to ripping off Canadians who bought their bread.

    Like

  • Monday is the first opportunity for consumers to sign up to receive a $25 gift card from Loblaws related to the grocer’s role in fixing the price of bread for more than a decade, but the agreement comes with some fine print.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/loblaws-gift-card-1.4477357

    Like

  • @Hants
    To qualify for the $25.00 they require name, DOB, address.ph.no and email address. There is a disclaimer that the info wouldn’t be used for marketing purposes- sure – and I have a bridge to sell somewhere.

    They have some gall it was going on from 2002 to 2015 and they reached a sweetheart deal with the Gov’t to avoid prosecution.

    This CRA case will go nowhere.

    Like

  • @Artax
    yes those are the public facts. It gets a little deeper though, because Loblaw does have a finance operation, o/a Presidents Choice financial. https://www.pcfinancial.ca/ They also have loyalty programs and insurance and mortgage brokerage.
    Hence that they used funds from their grocery business, or any other of their many holdings incl Shoppers Drug Mart etc, seems unlikely. Breaking down the inter-company connections is always tough.

    Like

  • @Hants
    “Maybe it is time for Barbados to face reality and get out of the Tax avoidance business.”
    Many great paying jobs, albeit several are held by ferners. Until they have some kind of replacement, they cannot cut it loose. And it is not like half the other islands don’t have similar issues.

    @Sarge
    where is that bridge?

    Like

  • Case in point of Indians in Guyana as opposed to Guyanese by name and nature.There will always be ethnic strife in that South American country if this interference continues.

    https://www.kaiteurnewsonline.com/2018/01/14/guyana-should-support-indias-quest-for-global-influence/

    Like

  • @Talking Loud Saying Nothing January 18, 2018 at 8:11 PM #

    Guyanese officials clearly recognize the many similarities between the Guyana of the 1970/80s and present Barbados. Even the Crop Over massacre of 2017 mirrors the Jonestown massacre of 1978.

    Like

  • A bit premature prior oil wealth
    to refer to Guyana as The New Fromtier.
    How will the newly created wealth
    be used to enhance the life of its poorer citizens. Look at how oil
    has distorted Trinidad and destroyed
    Venezuela.
    Will the oil wealth end up in some “black hole” or “white elephants” waste.
    Remain sceptical but optimistic.

    Like

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