President Ali of Guyana and his Vice President Jagdeo and entourage returned from a trip to Washington DC where they engaged US policymakers and think tanks. It is critical for Guyana’s rulers or policymakers to heed messages delivered in direct diplomatic words or through the delivery of phrases and body language.
Guyana’s political and economic future, her development and democratic culture, is tied to the USA and the West and not with any socialist oriental country seeking global dominance. The US is unhappy with China’s extensive presence in Guyana. Thus, failure to heed the underlying message coming out of Washington would result in serious repercussions for our democracy and development.
America is our natural ally given geographic regional proximity, geo strategic security interests, democratic culture, guarantor of free and fair elections, trade, financial aid, investments, and large diaspora (bigger than the population of Guyana) in the USA. Besides, the diaspora in the USA wants closer ties, even an association or alliance, with America. In addition, America is the hegemonic power of the region. Any defiance that threatens USA interests will lead to serious consequences.
Guyana toyed with close relations with the Soviet led socialist bloc between the 1950s and 1990, and we were severely burned and are yet to recover from the devastation. Fraternizing with another power alien to the region will hurt our country especially that we are producing oil which is in demand by USA and western Allie’s and that would fund our development. We would not like a repeat of the political faiths of 1953, 1964, 1992, 2015, and 2020.
Thee USA has been the guarantor of regime change and democracy in Guyana. As you noted, the government has not forgotten that USA ensured “the results of the 2020 election were observed”. For that alone, Guyana should eternally be grateful to the US. And indeed the majority of the Guyanese people, based on my interactions with them, are thankful to America for coming to the rescue of democracy. The diaspora,, as per my engagements with them in various parts of the USA, is also grateful that USA protected the people’s right to choose their government. China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela made no attempt to condemn electoral fraud in Guyana or urged the then regime in March 2020 to respect the will of the people. If the US, had not spoken out forcefully, Guyana would have become an undemocratic pariah state.
As you noted, the US is concerned about Chinese influence in the Americas. And while we are not privy to any discussion in Washington relating to China, it must be assumed that the matter would have been raised with the visiting delegation as China has been on the minds of American policymakers over the last decade. Guyana should not become over dependent on Chinese loans or investment to the detriment of US investment.
It must not go unnoticed that US$2 billion American Exim Bank line of credit has been made available to American private investment in Guyana. Insurance is also generally offered to American investment abroad. This suggests that the US wants and will encourage American investment to compete with or replace Chinese investment in Guyana. Like President Ali, I too am excited that American investment is returning to Guyana after they were chased out by the Burnham dictatorship. The diaspora is also pleased to see greater American investment in their homeland. They know that greater American presence is good for the country. They recognize America’s role in securing democracy there. Guyana should offer favorable terms to diaspora investors.
Guyana should unshackle financial ties with countries that don’t protect or subscribe our democratic culture, and the country encourage and embrace American investment. Incentives should be offered to increase American investment. The diaspora in America should take advantage of the Exim bank credit line and invest in various projects in their former homeland. Since they want to cement ties between Guyana and USA, their investment would bring the two countries closer. As investment grow as, the US would have greater interest in ensuring that democracy is not threatened as in 2020. And as the two nations become closer through trade and people to people contact, the US would be more inclined to protect our nascent democracy.