Descent into slime…

first_img…and Banker’s departureSome are surprised at the decision by Scotiabank to sell off its Guyanese operations at this particular juncture. Finance Minister Winston Jordan certainly is!! He said he couldn’t believe it “when Guyana’s economy is on the cusp of financial transformation with the onset of a massive new oil and gas sector.” The Minister should’ve gone on to ask himself why presumably sane banking executives did make the decision!!While Scotia was having a hard time in the Caribbean as a whole, those executives did know about Jordan’s incipient oil boom…which MIGHT transform Guyana from a “mon and pop” operation to a mega economy with oodles of money to intermediate. Look at how the Merrill Lynch investment division of Bank of America flew in a whole team to find out how they could get a piece of the action! And we have to remember it was Bank of America that walked away when the PNC scuttled the AML/CTF legislation!!So we return to the question that Jordan refused to pose to himself – why? And the answer boils down to something this PNC Government never understood, and evidently will never understand – solid foreign companies with choices are fundamentally averse to POLITICAL RISK! Scotia’s CEO and President Brian Porter – who, not so incidentally, is in Canada and not Trinidad like Republic Bank’s bosses – said it clearly: Scotia has to “…reduce risk to the bank”. So with all the money that might lie ahead, Scotia is walking away because they see Guyana as a “risky” proposition!And now we come to the question behind the initial question – what makes Guyana so risky? And the answer to this one in the PNC Government. Banks like Scotia that’ve been around the block, know that not because money is floating around, it means the business environment will be stable. If money from oil led to stability, then Africa would be like the rock of Gibraltar! What matters is the quality of political leadership since this Government could very well be a lot like the first incarnation of the PNC under Burnham, who embarked on utopian pie-in-the skies policies that bankrupted the economy. Just take a look at Venezuela next door, which has oil oozing from its kazoos!!The LGE has pulled the “kinder and gentler” mask the PNC carefully constructed since 2011: and it’s out there in the open for all to see. This PNC will not govern in a democratic manner that will lead to stability. And lack of stability increases political risk.Republic picked up Scotia’s assets ‘cause it has nowhere to go!!…and Gillbaka banWhile local aficionados were upset the US categorised their beloved Gillbaka as “catfish” – at which they turn up their nose! – our compatriots in Region 11 were hit even harder. The Americans banned the delicacy because we weren’t in compliance with their local regulations, on the entire species of bottom feeders they classify as “catfish”. And while our compatriots in NY and Florida are suffering from Gillbaka withdrawal symptoms, our local fisherfolk who were hauling in the big-bucks from the Gillbaka exports to NY are catatonic!Now the Americans were protecting their local, home-grown catfish but to be fair to them, they also banned other Central American and South American exports. And at the beginning of the year, they told everyone what to do to remove the ban. So here we are; the year almost done, and we’re still on the banned list – which the other countries have complied.The PNC have allocated $350 million for their 2020 Jubilee jump up. But can’t comply with the US catfish regulations!Free Gillbaka!!…and political picongPNC Chair, and Health Minister Volda Lawrence is cutting a fine line on political picong with her public declaration that she’s looking for “PNC doctors”.Is there a medical school at Congress Place??last_img