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Is Guyana edging towards war?

It is starting to look that way

Venezuela has been laying claim to the vast mineral-rich area of jungle west of the Essequibo River, which accounts for about 40% of Guyana’s territory. Earlier this year, Nicolás Maduro extended Venezuela’s maritime claims after Exxon Mobil announced it had made a significant oil discovery in Guyana’s territorial waters.

Then earlier this month, Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse was quoted in the media in his country as saying that the issue regarding the New River Triangle territory, which both countries have been claiming intermittently for decades, was back on the agenda.

Granger said that in order for Guyana to face head on, the claims being invented by Venezuela and Suriname, a plan for total national defense is vital.

The Guyana Defence Force isn’t very intimidating

  • 4 aircraft and helicopters
  • Nothing even close to something that could engaged in air to air combat.
  • Only a couple armoured vehicles
  • The navy is nothing more than few river patrol boats.

According to the CIA Factbook, there is only 1,100 enlisted in the military.  To say it’s inadequate to stop any country from rolling over it, would be an understatement.

Here is the recruiting video.

Guyana has only 1,100 enlisted troops and yet has Special Forces?

UN visits Guyana to help settle Venezuela border dispute

This won’t end well.  Especially now that there is oil involved.

U.N. officials are visiting the South American country of Guyana to help settle a border dispute with neighboring Venezuela.

The office of Guyana President David Granger says U.N. officials were studying the issue Tuesday and that the secretary general eventually will meet with both presidents to help find a solution.

Granger’s office says it plans to go to the International Court of Justice if the dispute continues.

Venezuela long has claimed two-thirds of Guyana as its own, including a large marine area where Exxon Mobil Corp. said it had made a significant oil discovery.

It could get ugly.

In fact, Guyana joined Petrocaribe during the PPP’s tenure and the small, relatively weak Guyanese government soon became dependent on Venezuelan oil shipments. In exchange for shipments equal to roughly half of Guyana’s daily oil consumption, Guyana sends 200,000 tons of rice every year, about 40 percent of its total rice production. But, according to Guyanese Finance Minister Winston Jordan, the Venezuelan government threatened to stop buying rice from Granger’s government by 2016. Maduro is punishing Granger for his defiance and, as a result, Guyana might have to buy oil from Venezuela at market prices using hard currency.

Maduro’s hostility is also borne of fear. In May, Guyana sent a ship from the Guyanese Defense Force to St. Kitts and Nevis to partake in military exercises hosted by the U.S. Southern Command. And with U.S. investors fleeing Venezuelan markets, Maduro wants to prevent capital flight to an English-speaking, U.S.-aligned neighbor with sudden windfall oil profits.

Maduro knows that if Guyana keeps its government from forming an oil monopoly like the ones in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, Guyana could become a wealthy and functional society. And if the government does eventually form an oil monopoly, Guyana could become the Kuwait to Venezuela’s Iraq; Maduro would want to prevent that.

As long as Venezuela doesn’t seize Guyanese oil assets or sabotage rigs, the Stabroek block could produce more than $40 billion worth of crude oil over ten years. In that case, Guyana, the third-least prosperous country in Latin America, with the world’s highest suicide rate, has a shot at becoming more like its most realistic role model, Uruguay.

Fortunately, both leaders have stated publicly that they will seek a peaceful solution. This is good news for energy investors who prefer to deal with an English-speaking government less likely to seize assets. In fact, ExxonMobil is not the only foreign oil company placing a healthy bet on Guyana’s future.

In addition to Exxon’s Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, which holds a 45 percent interest in the Stabroek drilling project, Hess’ Guyana Exploration Limited and China National Offshore Corporation’s Nexen Petroleum Guyana Limited hold 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Additional companies exploring Guyana’s off-shore potential include Canada’s CGX Energy and Spain’s Repsol.

The future is bright for Guyana. Multinational oil companies are investing unprecedented sums into Guyana’s offshore potential, and its new governing coalition led by President Granger has a chance at a fresh start.

But the likelihood of Venezuela invading Guyanese territory increases as the fate of Maduro’s reign worsens. In a desperate bid for domestic support, Maduro might strike out at Guyana, much like the Argentine military junta’s failed attempt to save itself by invading the Falklands Islands in 1982.

On the other hand, the likelihood of Maduro invading Guyanese territory diminishes as the coalition of international firms invested in the region grows larger and more diversified. At a certain point, the coalition across the border will be too powerful for Maduro to oppose. In this sense, the race for Guyana is on.

This is how broke Guyana is

To even provide basic needs, it needs foreign aid from other countries.

Guyana’s president says India has pledged USD 60 million to help the South American country buy a large ferry and build a four-lane highway.

President Donald Ramotar says the highway is to connect Guyana’s main international airport to a large highway near the capital of Georgetown that runs to the coast.

He said late Thursday that USD 10 million of the amount pledged will be used to buy a passenger and cargo ferry that would operate between Port Georgetown and remote jungle communities near the border with Venezuela.

India and Guyana have collaborated on other projects in recent years, including a cricket stadium and a hospital.

About 44 per cent of the 736,000 people who live in Guyana are descendants of people from India who came as indentured workers.

About that hospital.  It isn’t going well.

Another controversy has erupted in relation to the design and construction of the Specialty Hospital at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara. This time, the government announced its intention to terminate the contract with Surendra Engineering Corporation Ltd on the grounds that the contractor had submitted a fraudulent document purported to emanate from the Central Bank of Trinidad. The government has also asked the police to investigate the matter and is pursuing legal action to recover some US$4.3 million it paid to the contractor.

Surendra Engineering has, however, rejected the allegations and accused the government of seeking to back out of its commitments and of being responsible for the stoppage of work. The contractor also stated that it was entitled to recover from the government amounts expended on the project that it was committed to see through to completion.

Now it is getting worse.

The Indian contractor which was sacked by Government in early September over the US$18M Specialty Hospital is in liquidation.

This latest development would bring uncertainty into legal proceedings filed by the Government of Guyana to recover over US$4M.

According to information seen by Kaieteur News, the company which was incorporated on September 8, 2008, is an unlisted public company which has its registered office at Mumbai, Maharashtra. Its last reported annual general meeting, according to records, was held on September 28, 2012. The company has eight directors.

According to Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, the Surendra contracts in Guyana have continued to raise shocking questions over the manner in which Government goes about its businesses. SECL was awarded the contract to build the US$12.5M sugar packaging plant at Enmore.

Government then, in 2011, turned around and awarded another contract to the company to supply 14 fixed and mobile drainage pump, for US$4M. That contract was under fire as SECL had no immediate history of dealing with pumps.

Under questionable circumstances again, Government awarded SECL the contract for the Indian-funded Specialty Hospital that is being built at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.

There were objections by another Indian firm over the award of the contract, with a complaint later filed with Indian parliamentarians.

“I want to go this far and say that the Bank in India is responsible in not screening the participants accessing its funding;  or doing at minimum a due diligence or minimum scrutiny of the awardee as recommended by these ‘Chatrees’ in Guyana.

“Even a fourth grader could find out the company’s activities from their web site.  It is so appalling to see monies getting misappropriated and images of the people and of the country, Guyana, getting tarnished.” The Parliamentarian made it clear that it will be nigh impossible for Guyana to recoup the monies it paid to SECL for the Specialty Hospital.

“Is it coincidence that the Surendra is in liquidation now? I am not sure what chance, if any, will this corrupt PPP Government or any future Government will have to recover the sum of US$4.5M that Surendra was paid upfront.”

I am not sure what to think.  Obviously Guyana has almost no engineering capacity in the country and that is exploited by either corrupt or incompetent companies overseas.   Of course spending some of that money to get a highly qualified engineer to help with these kinds of projects like cities all across the world do, might stop them from being exploited.  I hate to blame the victim but Guyana seems to be taken advantage of a lot.

Drug submarine is found in Guyana

So down in Guyana

Narcotics Submarine Seized in Guyana

Authorities in Guyana have discovered a submarine they believe was going to be used to ferry drugs across the Atlantic.

The submarine is 20 metres long and powered by a diesel engine, anti-narcotics unit director James Singh said Friday.

“It is the first time we have discovered a submarine on the Atlantic side and this is startling,” he said. “This seems to be a huge operation by groups which are setting up shop here.”
The submarine was found in Guyana’s northwest coastal Waini Region near the Venezuelan border. Singh said he believes it could have been headed to Europe or Africa. No one has been arrested.