19th of September, 2021. Region 9, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: September 19, 2021 at 12:37 pm
Protestors in Bonfim, Brazil, fighting for the reopening of the Guyana/Brazil border have alleged lack of respect for Brazil and political discrimination by the Guyana Government as they held their ground for 4 days straight through rain and shine, day and night, preventing much-needed supplies from leaving Brazil to Region 9, Guyana.
“They have no respect for Brazil,” one protestor commented.
“They have to respect Brazil. We’re going to make them respect Brazil,” another one echoed.
“This is political discrimination,” said another. “Flights are coming into Guyana from New York, from Suriname, from Miami, from all over the world, but when its time for Brazilians to enter, they say they are afraid of Delta (Covid Vaiant).”
The protestors say they are scheduled to sing the National Anthem of Brazil this afternoon, Sunday, 19th of September, 2021 at the protest site to demand respect for Brazil and the Brazilian people.
The protestors are backed by prominent Brazilian businesspeople and persons holding political offices such as the Mayor of Bonfim, Joner Chagas. Chagas told the protestors that he stands with them and will continue to fight for their cause.
In the video below, the protesters join hands in prayer asking God to give them strength. The protestors say they will not relent until a better agreement is reached for cross border activities.
The current border agreement only allows for merchandise to enter Guyana every Thursday with no concessions for Brazilians who want to do business in Guyana. The protestors say the border will either close completely or provisions will be made for Brazilians as well.
Over the last four days, the protestors held their ground and blocked trucks carrying merchandise to Guyana as per the weekly routine. Over 50 trucks laden with food and household products were forced to turn back last Thursday evening after protestors blocked their paths.
Residents of Region 9 say the Region faces the threat of food shortage if this continues. As such, the Rupununi Chamber of Commerce yesterday held a meeting to try to find a way forward.
Mayor of Bonfim, Mr Joner Chagas, made a proposal in the emergency meeting held last Friday, 17th of September, 2021 in Boa Vista, Roraima which was attended by the Guyanese Ministers of Health and Finance. Chagas proposed a phase one reopening of the border which allows for Brazilians to pass Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on the condition that they present vaccine cards and negative Covid test results. However, he also said that residents of Bonfim and Lethem should be free to pass on the specified days without the need to present vaccine cards or test results since they are living within the freezone which, abeit in two different countries, is defined as one geographical or cultural area.
During the meeting, the Guyana Government representatives said they will discuss the Bonfim mayor’s proposal with Guyana’s Covid 19 task force. A press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last Thursday suggested that the government had no intentions to concede and open the border for any time period since they fear an outbreak of the delta variant of the coronavirus and say that Guyana doesn’t have the capacity to handle the potential Covid outbreak.