If you’re going to sell yourself, at least be expensive

Jamaica has been selling off bits and pieces for ages, be it bauxite rights, our port (leased out) or even the sugar belt and Goat Island which has been granted to the Chinese.  

This has naturally stirred nationalistic tendencies in us human beings who inhabit this island. We have been demanding that the Government reverse these policies and staunchly go it alone, or at the very most engage in trade with others while retaining sovereignty of our key industries (electricity, bauxite, etc). I am staunchly in that camp, as I feel that as a unified Caribbean basin we can have a real go at making something of ourselves as a nation and region.

That, however, for the time being, is a pipe dream. The powers that be are intent on selling off any area and aspect of the nation that can turn a quick few US$ million. I don’t agree with this line of thinking, but if our leaders are indeed going down the road of selling off everything lock-stock and barrel, then by God let us ensure that they get quite a few US$ billion while also ensuring that the people (that would be us, the citizens of the neo-colony) get some benefits.

Take for example the on again off again sale of Goat Island and the aborted deal for the port (both Chinese deals). It is obvious that the Chinese are looking for a firm foothold in the region, more specifically the areas closest to the major shipping lanes (from the Panama Canal to the Port of Miami and further up the eastern US seaboard). That is why they have pumped so much money into the Cuban refitting of the Port of Mariel.

Now, the Chinese are not silly. They know that absolutely no cargo ships are allowed to dock in the US after directly docking at Cuba. Therefore they need a mid-point. This is where Jamaica comes into play. If they want the port and the island, and the Government is intent on selling, then sell, but go big and demand concessions and access to the port.  

Sell them and insist that they fund and train our merchant marine fleet (which they will need for their ships coming in) so that we can have some lasting benefits as it relates to the individual Jamaican.

Mining rights are also another case. China is the hub of global industry and manufacturing, and is also fast ascending as it relates to R&D. Therefore it is natural that they want to monopolize the minerals of the world. Again we see where the differing administrations are intent on selling it to the Chinese, in line with the old school sell-offs where we end up carrying the bag. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Let us sell it to them, but let us make them pay dearly. Insist that when we sell the bauxite rights the roads and rail networks must be upgraded. This again is something  that would benefit both parties. The Chinese would need good, reliable transportation networks to transport the minerals (or processed aluminum) to the docks so that they can be loaded into the awaiting ships.  

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