Tell us what it's going to take for you to return to Guyana.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Guyana offers to trade rain forest for aid

This is what I expect from a country that is heavily dependent on primary exports. Primary exports usually are extracted/produced by a small number or large players as opposed to a large number of small players.

Guyana's institutions are primarily geared towards dealing with large entities. Rather than taking a role of fostering the responsible exploitation of Guyana's forest resources by varied, diffuse and diverse entities, it is more preferred by the government to make a wholesale capitalization of the forest resources as a single bloc of carbon offsets for the developed world.

Scenarios like this involve as few people as possible and a single stream of revenue to the government.

It is more trouble to foster and regulate a diverse and extensive group of people exploiting the same resources. Such diverse participation would elevate more people out of poverty and spur some level of innovation, generate more employment and maybe retain more Guyanese in-country.

The government, however, like any self-interested entity is interested in maximizing a single, safe stream of predictable revenue.

The term 'Dynamic Economy' falls on deaf ears in that corner.

Now, the "economic aid" that the president speaks of for the development of the private sector, means to me that this assistance money will be used by the government to subsidize the enterprises that the government finds befitting its agenda.

Such government capitalism may benefit the government, but I find myself preferring something that benefits more people. This may be a way of replacing lost sugar revenue.

Finally, to the President's declaration that there is the political will to do this I say: " How much political will is needed to do nothing other than bar development and get paid for it?"

Whatever political capital is required, it shouldn't be hard to muster in a parliament where one party rules all and few people dictate the party agenda.

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