September 29, 2016

Development…

…and underdevelopment
We all know Guyana’s sorely in need of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). All our traditional export products have crashed for one reason or another – sugar – prices; rice – drought and markets; bauxite – China’s slowdown etc…etc. Not unexpectedly, the economy’s moribund. But is a mega-supermarket the kind of FDI we really need?
What exactly will the claimed US$24 million supermarket the Trinidadian company Massy just opened at Providence, do for our economy? Replace rice and sugar with the promised100 jobs? You’re kidding, right dear reader? Those two industries contribute to the upkeep of at least 200,000 men, women and children. Right now, selling groceries is the last thing we need in Guyana. Every street corner in the villages gave their mom-and pop groceries…and small supermarkets are already giving them a run for their money.
And in the towns? Well, don’t we already have supermarkets? Massy’s might be massive – but what exactly will they sell that’s not already available in Guyana. Twenty kinds of ketchup? What’s this nonsense about buying and selling “Guyanese Products” – and showing the Finance Minister “fingling” same sweet potatoes? Why can’t Massy develop that Plantain Chip factory Leguan’s crying out for? Why underdevelop us further? Is there a Guyanese who can’t get sweet potatoes? Or is the one-stop shopping rich elite not going to be visiting the “ground provision” vendors on Merriman Mall.
Oh…we forget…Massy’s not going to put THEM out of business… Town Clerk King already did that with his 500 per cent rental increase for a smaller stall to the said vendors. But back to Massy Supermarket. We have to admit, they tried every which way to sound Guyanese. Did you see the sign over one aisle announcing “Can Meat” and “Can Vegetables” rather than “Canned Meat and Canned Vegetables” – which we Guyanese NEVER say?
But seriously folks? Can you hear that sucking sound your Eyewitness picked up on the moment he saw the Massey Supermarket? That’s the sound of Massy sucking out dollars from Guyana that would’ve been circulating and creating virtuous circles in “buying and selling” here. And it’s not just dollars – it’s AMERICAN DOLLARS. Businesses in Trinidad are restricted from buying US dollars – they have to go through the Central Bank like we used to do back in the “Burnham Days”.
So in addition to siphoning off all those West Coast, West Bank and East Bank wealthier grocery shoppers, that sucking sound you hear will be Massy siphoning off US dollars to Trinidad and pushing up our exchange rate.
It’s not totally coincidental the sucking sound we all know up to now is water being flushed down the toilet. Same difference!

…of democracy
OK…the LGE results are in. And all it did was confirm that race politics – represented by the supporters of the two major parties – is also alive and well at the local level. There was a faint hope by some – including this Eyewitness – that away from the hotbed of national politics which determines who runs the country, the racial imperative might lose some of its intensity. Not this time though.
With 20/20 hindsight, once the two big guns entered the fray in their own names (what’d you think? Folks don’t know APNU is PNC. Steewps!!) It was a foregone conclusion. In some uni-racial constituencies, the “other side” didn’t even bother to field a candidate.
But one big surprise – at least to this Eyewitness – is how some candidates were wiped out following Pressie’s “don’t split the vote” call. For instance Benschop.
With the drubbing he got after his years of activism…can he come back?

…and protecting locals
India’s faced with the same invasion of supermarkets threatening their millions of local shops. But having allowed in one set of merchants – The East India Company – who ended up taking over the country for Britain – India’s placed controls on their entry.
A hint to Beneba mek Quasie tek notice!

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