25th of September, 2021. Region 9, Guyana, South AmericaLast updated: September 25, 2021 at 11:29 am
Persons protesting in Brazil for the reopening of the Guyana/Brazil border have related to this publication that one of the reasons they are so upset and want the border to reopen is that Guyanese Police have been in the habit of demanding bribes from Bonfim Residents who attempt to cross over into Lethem from time to time.
Even though the border is closed, there is some level of flexibility for residents of the two border communities: Bonfim and Lethem. That is, someone can ask permission from the Regional authorities and cross the bridge from one neighboring town to another. This is because residents of Lethem and Bonfim rely heavily on each other for their livelihoods and are also family. Most residents of Lethem have family or a second home in Lethem and vice versa.
The protestors said that, if any Guyanese is granted permission from the Guyana side to cross over into Bonfim, the Brazilians let them into Bonfim without hindrance and without ever taking bribes. However, when the tables turn, and if a resident of Bonfim wishes to visit Lethem and permission is granted by the Bonfim authorities, then, when they reach the Takutu River Bridge, the Guyanese police on the bridge demand bribe of 100 reais or more to let them pass. Further, they allege that the Guyanese police, even after taking the bribe, allow them to pass on foot only, and not with vehicle.
In this context, the protestors say that the Brazilian authorities are more flexible with cross-border activities while the Region 9 authorities are more stringent. Because of these and other factors, the Brazilian protestors are demanding the reopening of the border at least for the border towns whose residents depend on each other. The protestors have blocked much-needed supplies from leaving Brazil into Lethem for over 14 days now.
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