WHAT PRICE ARE WE PREPARED TO PAY?

Guangdong Zhenrong Energy (GZE) is being presented by some politicians as a celestial answer to the economic standstill we’ve been confronting for some decades now. Actually it makes sense because it’s politically easier to bet on GZE than to tackle our structural deficiencies that cause this stagnation (rigid labor market and immigration policies among others). Digressing, we shouldn’t forget that GZE ultimately answers to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) whose most important goal is ensuring its monopoly on power. For the last decades Beijing has enunciated a clear set of foreign policy goals to achieve it.

First, Chinese territorial integrity and unification. We have seen China successfully using its checkbook in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean to convince countries not to recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan). In 1970 a total of 71 countries recognized Taiwan. Today only 19 do. Second, creating world clout through its Development Model of providing loans without questioning human rights, corruption or money wasting programs in the receiving countries unlike the West and multilateral organizations. The Chinese model has proven attractive for governments desperate for money and short term successes without having to deal with badly needed structural adjustments.

This model comes with a price tag however. Too good to be true promises of local jobs often echoed by local politicians, are just that. Despite Beijing’s claim that China’s assistance is totally selfless, the reality is different. Chinese aid is tied aid meaning that an overwhelming majority of the money is spent on personnel, goods or services from China. The Mombassa-Nairobi railway in Kenya financed by China was built by Chinese companies and laborers. Lack of transparent bidding and corruption (two Chinese senior managers were arrested in Kenya on corruption charges) made this project twice as expensive as similar ones in Africa. Unfortunately, the Kenya case is not an exception. Similar instances are taking place in Jamaica, The Gambia, Laos and other Southeast Asian countries. Another danger is the sub-standard work delivered by these Chinese companies. The Luanda General Hospital (Angola) built by the Chinese had to be closed down due to poor work done, sending patients to tents. Closer to home, Trinidad had to demolish an apartment building due to faulty work. Too many Chinese buildings prove to be less sturdy than a house of cards.

China’s doings are not unique. I’m convinced that China has the same intentions as empires and world powers which is increasing its power and influence in the world. Let us, especially our policy makers not be naive but carefully assess the Chinese intentions. The question we have to answer is what price are we prepared to pay for GZE?

Alex Rosaria

Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

14 thoughts on “WHAT PRICE ARE WE PREPARED TO PAY?”

  1. Our unfortunate approach of “nos mes por” (we can go it alone) and expressly not enlisting the help of out mother country for political reasons as were espoused by the parties of PS and MFK and formerly MAN under Cooper, led to secretive and non-transparent MOU’s with the Chinese. The aforegoing without proper insight in the geo-political implications or the economic boundaries that may have been crossed. Now the problem is to undo any wrongs and to limit the liabilities that may be incurred if the government of today breaks or wants to renegotiate changes in certain contracts due to differing insights into the matter. In this very complicated deal it is of utmost importance that we do not act hastily but ask for expert liaise before jumping into potential disastrous adventures. We owe it to the future generations of our island.

    Like

    1. I think the MOU was signed by a givernment formed by PS, PAR, PN, and the independent member. And the current koalision formed by PAR, MAN, and PIN are backing it conpletely. MAN took it to campaing 100%. Even pushing the idea of a completely new refinery. I thinj that campaign by Mr. Martina helped MAN get quite some votes.

      Like

  2. It’s about time we put politics aside and evaluate this and any other potential project or economic opportunity using our best resources. Blaming and dividing will not achieve meaningfull progress, it’s time for leaders with the courage to unite!

    Like

  3. I agree we do need to answer the question.However the immediate concern is the pollution from Isla being addressed immediately.Each day it goes on, each day more people suffer.Not only people but the economy too.I am all for strategic thinking and action but do not forget the present.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and voicing your concern about Sri Lanka. India on the other hand is understandably so, very cautious about China’s proposed investments in that country. Too bad what is going on in Sri Lanka. The same is the case in many African and Asian countries.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s