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A railway connecting Manaus, Boa Vista and Georgetown would be the best transportation link for Guyana and Brazil
Stabroek News
May 8, 2008

Brazil and Guyana share geographical boundaries to Brazil’s extreme north and Guyana’s extreme south and south-west. However, many persons in both Brazil and Guyana are unaware of this fact and this is reflected in the isolation of their citizens from each other.

Transportation links between these two South American countries scarcely assist in the elimination of such isolation. The only air transport link is a commuter one which provides a thrice weekly service between Georgetown and Boa Vista with a 30-seater turbo-propeller aircraft, and there is no sea transportation link between Guyana and any Brazilian port such as Santos (the largest shipping port in Latin America that traded over 72 million tons in 2006).

Guyanese primary trading contact with Brazil is via Boa Vista and Manaus, but the volume is much smaller than that of other Caribbean countries further away such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, which are making better usage of the economic opportunities in Brazil.
On the other side of the border Brazilians have failed to notice that Guyana is a country with territorial dimensions almost equal to Parana or Sao Paulo State, and that it has a lot of forest still preserved. Guyana is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and with a deep water port (which does not yet exist) the logic of transport in northern Brazil could be reversed in an extremely competent manner.
Guyana also exports bauxite ore, a natural resource from which aluminium is produced, which goes mainly to Russia and China and is not marketed in Brazil, and which is to allow good opportunities of investment in Guyana to go a begging.

Also, Brazilians seeking to study English go to countries in either Europe or North America instead of trying to go to Guyana. The cost of living in Guyana is far cheaper than in the United States or England a fact which most Brazilians do not see.

For many years there have been talks in Brazil about a road link between Boa Vista and Georgetown via Lethem. Although it is less than 400 miles between these two cities, little progress has been achieved. The building of the bridge across the River Takutu on the border between the two countries has taken over seven years to complete, but it should have been done much faster.

The best choice of transport between the two countries, especially for Brazil, is a railway. A railway connecting Manaus to Boa Vista and Georgetown would allow for the marketing of products in the industrial free zone of Manaus, the Pole Agro industrial area of Roraima. There could also be a great alternative for the transport of soybeans in northern Mato Grosso that are shipped through the port of Itacoatiara, in Amazonas. The Port of Georgetown would reverse the logic in the heads of the Brazilian strategists. Navigation on the Amazon River is becoming much more expensive when compared with the opportunity to use a port near Georgetown. A ship, for example, that is bound from Asia to Manaus passes in front of the coast of Guyana. Well, there are studies here showing that that ship takes between 8 to 10 days to travel from offshore Georgetown to Manaus. Meanwhile a freight train between Manaus and Georgetown (approximately 660 miles) would take less than one day of travel.

Another important factor is that the Caricom headquarters is in Guyana – the Common Market of the Caribbean. Therefore from Guyana Brazilian products can reach the Caribbean market in a more economic and aggressive manner. And Brazilian entrepreneurs may be able to establish a sugar factory in Guyana for the production of Demerara sugar for market in Boa Vista, Manaus, and other parts of the Amazon region. Brazilian entrepreneurs have also failed to utilize such opportunities.

Finally, there is a significant cultural exchange opportunity to be exploited between the University of Guyana and Brazil. At the moment there are not even exchanges between the University of Guyana and the Universities of Roraima and Amazonas, which would be much easier. The rhetoric of South American integration has a long history in relation to Guyana. We need more action and less talk.

Aimberê Soares de Freitas

Posted by Providence Stadium at 5/08/2008 12:39:00 PM


Anonymous said…

You words are true and I agrre with almost all of them. There’s something that I believe you have forgoten to tell about Brazilians not studying english in Guyana. Thing is: IN GUYANA ENGLISH IS NOT SPOKEN!!! They speak the creole, it’s their first language and when they try to speak english the words are mispronounced and usually only Guyanese understand guyanese. I tried to study english there, but it was impossible! Actually the whole caricom countries, except BARBADOS speak a terrible english. Sorry, but we go to Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and British Countries BECAUSE ENGLISH IS SPOKEN ONLY THERE!

2:08 PM, May 29, 2008

Anonymous said…

That is not completely true- that we speak a terrible english in the commonwealth countries of the Caribbean. I am Antiguan, and have also lived in Brazil. We do speak Creole with friends and family, but in the business environment, and obviously universities, we use standard english and we are a very articulate and eloquent people. To learn English, one must go to a language school or some sort of education facility, and pelo amor de deus, Caribbean academic institutions definitely do not teach creole in classrooms! Growing up in the Caribbean, unfortunately you are punished if caught speaking creole in schools. Even in Brazil, they use giria depending on the state that you are in; and in this case, one can also argue that brazilian portuguese is ´´terrible,´´ being a degenerate portuguese from portugal. I am tired of latin americans who idealize Europe and the US, and suffer from a miscegenation complex. You will never be whitened and insipid like England and the US, no matter how much you try to exclude afrobrasileiros, pardos and indios from your society! Get over it!
PS Bajan english is def. not the best of the caribbean

10:06 AM, June 05, 2008

Geocarlos said…

This is to the Brazo’s comment: Well, I am a Brazo too. I live with a Guyanese girl who grew up in Georgetown. And she can speak an English anybody who can REALLY speak English can understand. Of course, she talks in creole when she is with friends or with her family. But even creole isn’t so hard to understand. It is not true that only Guyanese understand Guyanese. I am Brazilian and the first time I went to Guyana was in 2006 and, when I met my girl, and I never had problems to communicate with people there. I have American friends in Boa Vista and we often meet them, and they never had any problem to understand what my girl says. In America, some people speak a very terrible English in informal situations, just like we speak a distorted Portuguese when we are with our friends or our family. Even in UK some people are just impossible to be understood when they used their “home” language. But it seems that nobody sees that. Do you watch only BBC? Only CNN? I’ve got a surprise to you: people there don’t speak just like that in their daily life. And don’t expect to hear creole on the Guyanese TV, or see it written on Stabroek News. If you just can’t understand what any Guyanese say, then I’m sorry to tell you that you don’t know English yet. Have you ever seen in any Portuguese dictionary the word “muié”, “ai” (meaning something for seasoning), “dar fé” (meaning realize, becoming aware of something), “rumbora”? Beacause of that would you say one can’t learn Portuguese in Brazil, or Brazilians can be understood only by Brazilians? I don’t know about you, but I can communicate with Portuguese and Africans, and in English I can communicate with Guyanese, British, Americans, Canadians, South Africans…

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