Saturday, January 9, 2010

Eco-Imperialism: Guyana's fateful misadventure into Norway's "Copenhagen Alternative"

Dear Editor,

Patrick Pereira's view of Guyana's disastrous position under the recently-signed "Norway Agreement" in a recent 5-page advertisment is a truly astonishing analysis … and has many of us scrambling to play 'catch-up'!

The online article is found at and is captioned in the print media as "THE NORWAY – GUYANA M.O.U: AN INSULT TO PRESIDENT JAGDEO AND TO THE PEOPLE OF GUYANA"

I remember having the same sinking feeling in my stomach years ago as I came to grips with the implications of Section 5 of the Lausanne Covenant (Christian Social Responsibility).

Are we now in the realm of "eco-imperialism" in Guyana?

And is President Jagdeo still in control given the horrible mix of issues represented by rampant Brazilian mining adventurism, leftist Western politics and environmental activism, debilitating corruption and racist intrigue locally ( see "Greed, Genocide ... and Now Green: Corruption and Underdevelopment in Guyana" ) and the fact that he has been recently pushing “investment from the Arab Middle East”?

Pereira's analyses ... and accusations ... suggest that he is not, and go far deeper than that!

He accuses the administration of President Bharat Jagdeo of a mixture of duplicity and social-policy recklessness and naievety that will have enormous detrimental effects on Guyana's future, destroy the hitherto peaceful existence of its citizens, and a perfectly healthy mining industry ... all the while using the indigenous Amerindian population as pawns, and possibly having its end-game in reserving the oil-potential off Guyana's coast for a select few.

His analysis, as yet unanswered directly by the President or his army of local spin-doctors, raises a lot of questions ... chief among which is "How does any sane person or government propose that a miner must wait 6 months for permission to cut down a tree in the process of mining?"

Were our planners asleep at the wheel when the Norway Agreement went down? Was there even any systematic institutional planning here?

Or was this debacle the result of one man's grotesque egotistical plunge off the Kaieteur Falls as he was caught up in the heady throes of "being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize"?

Was the CRNM/CARICOM consulted before the Norway MOU? This especially after President Jagdeo went after its then head after the EPA issue with the EU?

Somehow, US $250 million doesn't sound so rosy now!

And if Bharat Jagdeo wanted a legacy, he will now probably have it! It would be that he ... or his ego ... fell for Norway's carrot hook, line and sinker!

1. But what is eco-imperialism? ( )

“… Eco-imperialism is a term coined by Paul Driessen to refer to the forceful imposition of Western environmentalist views on developing countries. The degree to which this occurs is a topic of debate, as is whether such imposition would be ethically justifiable. In his book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death[1], Paul Driessen argues that like the European imperialists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, today’s eco-imperialists keep developing countries destitute for the benefit of the developed world…”

“… Some commentators maintain that eco-imperialism has a racial dimension, and occurs when environmentalists place the well-being of the environment over the well-being of humans, particularly non-whites, living in developing countries. Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality has argued that European Union restrictions on the use of the pesticide DDT to combat malaria are killing ‘black babies’. Environmental historian Ramachandra Guha has accused ‘authoritarian’ biologists of valuing the protection of endangered species over the well-being of local people in India and other developing countries…”

2. What are some of the anticipated consequences of eco-imperialism?

See “Eco-imperialism’s Deadly Consequences” (,2933,104889,00.html ) … written 6 years ago in response to Paul Driessen’s book. The arguments are grim, and contrast drastically with the sudden and rosy promotion of an “LCDS” strategy in Guyana ... while paradoxically offering one explanation of why malaria is still rampant in Guyana:

” … Driessan’s book isn’t limited to global warming and third world energy problems. The chapter “Sustainable Mosquitoes — Expendable People” describes the ongoing tragedy of the eco-activist crusade against DDT.

Our family and community are suffering and dying from [malaria], and too many Europeans and environmentalists only talk about protecting the environment,” says 34-year old Ugandan businesswoman with malaria. “But what about the people? The mosquitoes are everywhere. You think you’re safe, and you’re not. Europeans and Americans can afford to deceive themselves about malaria and pesticides. But we can’t,” she added.

The Ugandan woman is only one of more than 300 million annual victims of malaria in the third world. Between 2-3 million die every year. “Over half the victims are children, who die at a rate of two per minute or 3,000 per day — the equivalent of 80 fully loaded school buses plunging over a cliff every day of the year,” explains Driessen.

Despite this ongoing public health horror story, the United Nations Environment Programme, World Bank, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network, World Wildlife Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility and other eco-imperialist groups oppose the use of DDT — the only practical solution to the malaria crisis. The eco-imperialists’ disturbing attitude toward the third world is perhaps most frighteningly described by Robert S. Desowitz in another must-read, “The Malaria Capers,” (search) (W.W. Norton, 1991).

Desowitz reports a U.S. Agency for International Development official named Edwin Cohn as saying, “The third world didn’t require a healthy labor force because there was a surplus of workers; better some people should be sick with malaria and spread the job opportunities around.” Even more bluntly, Cohn reportedly said people in the third world were “better [off] dead than alive and riotously reproducing.”….”

And the final instalment to this worsening debacle seems to be the following comment by Germany in a Reuters news article on July 24th 2009:

" ... Germany called a French idea to slap "carbon tariffs" on products from countries that are not trying to cut greenhouse gases a form of "eco-imperialism" and a direct violation of WTO rules..."

Were our local planners asleep at the wheel when the Norway Areeement went down?

Was the CRNM/CARICOM consulted?

Between Jagdeo's apparent egotistical blunder, the German comment and Patrick Pereira's analysis, somehow US $250 million doesn't sound as rosy now!

Perhaps we all need to read more ... if only because Periera shows us how we have literally been handed thirty pieces of silver for the thirty-thousand odd pieces that meaningful exploitation of our natural resources represented!

Can President Jagdeo ever look the CRNM/CARICOM personnel in the eyes again?

And is this what is meant by "achieving our continental destiny"?

Yours faithfully
Roger Williams

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