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Protest Reportedly Planned for Lethem Tomorrow

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22nd of September, 2021. Region 9, Guyana, South America

Last updated: September 22, 2021 at 10:15 am

Reliable sources on the ground in Lethem, Region 9, Guyana, South America have informed this publication that protest action is planned by residents of the town of Lethem for tomorrow, Thursday, 23rd of September, 2021. The protestors will demand that the Regional authorities and the Guyana Government act fast in resolving the escalating border conflict which has been going on for two weeks now.

Residents and businesses alike have started to feel the squeeze of the lack of Brazilian supplies upon which Region 9 so heavily relies. According to one resident, approximately $100,000,000 (one hundred million Guyana dollars) worth of merchandise is now stranded in Boa Vista for over 10 days due to the border closure. These merchandise run the risk of damage and incur expenses every day that they stay laden on the trucks. The path to the Takutu River Bridge leading from Brazil to Guyana is presently sealed off by Brazilian protestors seeking a better cross-border agreement with the government of Guyana.

The Brazilian residents decry the fact that the Guyana/Brazil border has been closed to travel for over 1 year now with no prospects of reopening. Nevertheless, the Government of Guyana has made a concession for merchandise to enter Guyana from Brazil every Thursday, but no concession for Brazilians who want to do business with Guyana. The Brazilian protestors say this is unfair, and have blocked the path of trucks headed for Guyana for nearly 14 days now. Further, the border towns of Bonfim and Lethem have long been deeply intertwined with each other, and residents of both towns feel they should be allowed to visit each other.

The sealing off of the Takutu River Bridge by the Brazilian protestors has fueled illicit backtrack activities. Reports are that goods are being transported via trucks to the river where they are whisked away, under the radar, to the Guyana shore. From there, the goods are distributed to the various businesses who buy them. Residents on both sides related that the Guyanese authorities, including the Covid-19 Task Force, have been turning a blind eye to the recent surge in this illicit backtrack trade.

Backtrack transportation of goods is highly inefficient, risky, and costly as compared to transporting by truckloads across the Takutu River Bridge. As such, the price of goods in Lethem have gone up by 50 to 150% percent over the last week. Residents say, for examples, that a tray of eggs normally costing $500 dollars is now being sold for $900 and a bottle of cooking gas once costing $5000 is now being sold for $10,000.

Given all of these developments, the residents of Lethem are planning to put pressure on the Guyana Government to act fast in order to avoid a humanitarian crisis which looms over Region 9 and which will likely become a reality if the current stalemate continues for even one more week.

The Government of Guyana, fearing the spread of the coronavirus, has been slow to react to this situation. They have announced that they are “discussing” the situation with no helpful action being taken so far. In a recent press release, the Ministry of Foreign affairs suggested that the Guyana Government has very little intention to yield to the demands of the Brazilian protestors, but with Guyanese residents joining the show tomorrow, it will be a whole new ballgame.

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