Will the promise of 10,000 jobs turn out to be another bitter pill?

Dear Editor,

The promises of 10,000 jobs by China’s Bai Shan Lin could turn out to be yet another bitter pill for Guyana to swallow. The government has failed to complete the Amaila Falls road project at a huge loss to its hard-pressed citizens.

The long list of failures continues, while the government remains unable to provide full and proper accountability concerning illegal mining, gold smuggling, cocaine shipments, logging, deforestation and environmental degradation. Meaningless investigations are promised but never come to anything.

Labour Minister, Dr Nanda Kishore Gopaul told a meeting with the Chinese that the labour laws were unbiased and not stringent and should be welcomed by them. At government expense the labour laws have now been translated into Chinese and the government hopes that this step will “pave the way for fewer complaints about alleged labour violations.“

The Guyana government has always exploited the laws robustly to keep its grip on power, but this does not happen when it comes to protecting the country‘s valuable natural resources for the benefit of citizens. It has prompted the eminent Dr Janette Bulkan to state, ‘The rule of law? Not in the forest sector of Guyana.‘ (SN, Jan 16, 2012).

Owing to lack of transparency the government has failed to tell the public how it will allow logging in accordance with the MOU signed with Norway in 2009. The MOU requires that timber production does not exceed annually the average for the 2003-2008 level. And if the percentage of timber production, which is illegal, exceeds 15% then penalties will be triggered.

China is committed to ensuring the strong growth 2of its economy in recent decades. But in fuelling its rapid growth, China has become far more dependent on its own home-grown managers and skilled work force, which are deployed in various countries where it is involved in the sourcing and extraction of raw materials.

This has caused much resentment in some African countries, as the imported Chinese work ethic clashes with the local work ethic. Also Chinese workers often take up citizenship in the host country and become part of the country’s manpower statistics. This effectively masks the true employment levels to the host country.

Yours faithfully,
Mac Mahase

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