23rd of September, 2021. Region 9, Guyana, South America.Last updated: September 23, 2021 at 10:46 am
Speaking to this publication this morning, Regional Chairman of Region 9, Mr. Bryan Allicock, expressed that the Guyana Government has no intentions of yielding to the demands of the Brazilian protestors who have blocked cargo trucks from leaving Brazil to Guyana via the Takutu River Bridge. The Chairman related that Guyana’s Covid-19 cases are already rising to worrying levels, and as such the Guyana government cannot further jeopardize the lives of the people of both countries by allowing people to travel. The Regional Chairman further related that all, or almost all, of Region 9’s Covid-19 infections were imported from Brazil through illegal backtrack activities.
The Regional Chairman of Region 9, Mr. Bryan Allicock, would like to make it absolutely clear that the Guyana Government is not the one who has closed the border to Brazilian imports. The border is still open to Brazilian imports every Thursday as it has always been, but it is the Brazilian protestors who are blocking the trucks from passing.
The protestors are demanding what they refer to as a better cross-border agreement which caters at least three days for Brazilians to be allowed to travel to Lethem. The border is currently closed to all travels with a concession for Brazilian merchandise to pass every Thursday. The protestors say this is unfair since it is a lopsided deal which does not cater for Brazilians who wish to do business in Lethem.
However, the Regional Chairman of Region 9, Mr. Bryan Allicock, said that, in a meeting with Brazilian Authorities in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima, on the 17th of September, 2021, Guyana’s representatives made the offer for the same trucks which bring Brazilian products from Boa Vista to transport back products which Brazilians may need from Lethem. The offer was rejected on the basis that these products which Brazilians purchase in Lethem cannot be imported to Brazil in bulk quantities. Brazilian law currently allows Brazilians to pass back from Lethem with non-commercial quantities of products. That is, less than 3 units of a particular product and less than US$500 in total purchase per person. Brazilians have long been in the habit of traveling to Guyana to purchase cheap Chinese products among other items, and this practice has fueled the economies of both countries by providing businesses for restaurants, tour operators, taxis, etc.
The Regional Chairman said that the government is considering subsidizing supplies from Georgetown to alleviate the economic problems developing in Region 9 as a result of the blockage of the Takutu River Bridge by the protestors in Bonfim.
Currently, the prices of many items in Lethem have skyrocketed as a result of the bridge being blocked by protestors. Illicit backtrack activities have also increased.
Meanwhile, the protestors have said that they will not relent until they achieve their objective.