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China calls for positive media coverage on relations with Guyana
Published on March 6, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- In what can be considered the first ever public response from the Chinese Embassy since the use of foreign labour to construct the Marriott hotel made headlines in the local press, Chinese ambassador to Guyana Zhang Limin has appealed for positive media coverage on the longstanding relations between Guyana and China.

Minutes before signing a grant aid deal with Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh for the commencement of a new one laptop per family (OLPF) programme, Limin through his interpreter said he is willing to clarify any information the media may have on the operations of Chinese companies in Guyana, either speaking to him directly or visiting the Chinese embassy.

Speaking directly to the media that gathered for coverage of the OLPF event, Limin reminded that Guyana holds the reputation as the first country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China and the benefits of those ties have accrued over the years.

“More and more Chinese companies are coming to Guyana to seek investment and business opportunities. There are some that are state owned companies and also some private owned companies,” Limin said.

Their presence in Guyana, the ambassador said is in keeping with the Chinese government’s diplomacy to support social and economic development.

China’s tangible support to Guyana includes the construction of the Guyana International Conference Centre (GICC) at Liliendaal, the OLPF, the donation of two roll-on-roll-off ferry vessels, medical expertise from roving Chinese medical missions and the construction of the Skeldon Sugar Factory.

The use of Chinese labour to construct the Marriott is also added to the list but will also be remembered for the protest that it attracted, which included a threat by the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) to take legal action.

The government had dubbed the recent actions as malicious stemming from an ongoing campaign to sabotage the investment. From its inception, the project was widely criticised by Robert Badal of the Pegasus hotel, who is believed to be a financier of the Alliance For Change (AFC), the party that moved a motion to block state funds to the project.

In the midst of the demonstrations was a Kaieteur News article questioning whether the Chinese nationals working on the project are convicts.

President Donald Ramotar addressed the issue on Sunday, saying that the Chinese intentions have always been good throughout history.

“History will show you that China has not exploited and colonialised any country. In fact, the record of China… it has been helping to build societies in Africa and other parts of the world and we must stand up and make the voice of the majority heard because there seems to be people financed from somewhere, dedicating themselves to slander and attack,” Ramotar said.
 
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