17th of September, 2021. Region 9, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: September 18, 2021 at 10:06 am
The Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, and the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, made an emergency trip to Boa Vista, Brazil, today, Friday, 17th of September, 2021 to try to deescalate the situation at the Guyana/Brazil border, but the trip was a total waste of time. The two ministers flew from Georgetown to Lethem this morning and drove across the border to Boa Vista. After a meeting in Boa Vista, the Brazilian media announced that the meeting bore no fruit. The contention of the Guyana government representatives was that they simply cannot open the border because of fears of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Brazilians are seething with anger at the lopsided border policy which only allows for goods to pass into Guyana but no concession for Brazilians who wish to do business in Guyana. This anger has manifested into a protest at the Guyana/Brazil for the last 48 hours – daytime and nighttime – come rain or shine. The Brazilian protestors are backed by Brazilian authorities and businesspeople who donate money for food and drink.
When trucks laden with merchandise destined for Region 9 and Georgetown approached the Takutu River Bridge yesterday, Thursday, 16th of September, 2021, they were greeted with an unpleasant sight. Scores of Brazilians stood across the road and parked their vehicles so as to prevent any passage of merchandise into Guyana. Some of the trucks stayed overnight hoping the situation would change today, Friday, but it didn’t. It just got worse.
The Guyanese authorities announced this afternoon after an emergency meeting in Boa Vista that they will not open the border over fears of the Covid-19 virus, especially the Delta strain which they say is in Brazil. Consequently, the protestors, disgruntled by this response, vowed to continue blocking the trucks until a more positive response emerges.
Meanwhile, Brazilian authorities have shown no signs that they have any intention to use force to disband the protestors. In fact, the Brazilian protestors seem to have the backing of many prominent politicians and businesspeople including the Mayor of Bonfim who appears to be standing on the side of the Brazilian people and pushing for the border to reopen – or at least a fairer border policy.
The protestors in Bonfim have hurled numerous accusations against the Guyanese authorities including that they are discriminating against the Brazilian people. One protestor commented:
Flights are coming into Guyana from Miami, from New York, from Suriname, and from many other places every day. Why can’t they allow Brazilians to enter? This is unfairness. This is political discrimination..
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