Sunday/Monday July 16/17
1. Since Sharon & Debbie [Touchette] spent a good deal of the day Sunday with me, I will only briefly capsulize it.
He has been showing a marked indifference to me by playing poker every night. I decided a little independence needed to be shown by going out someplace with Sharon & Deb or just go home for a while. Sharon, Deb & I went to C.J. Bollers’ [Guyana’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Sir Harold Bollers] house to visit Mrs. Bollers. After 30 minutes, Mann came looking for me. He is not captivated by me, but very insecure when I am not paying homage to him. After bringing me home (with Sharon & Deb accompanying), he again went out on a ruse saying he was showing his house to someone. It turned out to be another poker game. I called where he was at 8:30 PM & told him I was going out to eat (which is what we were going to do that evening). He asked, “Who with?” I said, “alone.” He said, “where?” I said, “I’d think about it on the way.” He asked, “Where did you get the money?” I said, “Out of your briefcase.” He then told me to
call Sharon & Debbie & invite them out and I’d better get some more money out of the briefcase.” I took Lian [Liane Harris] & Sandi [likely Cobb Jones] out to dinner. He got home at 1 AM.
He was very antagonistic all day. He got mad when I said Deb was going to read one of his books (as I mentioned before, his irrational anger points are to touch any of his books or eat his callaloo stew). I think he would have made a big scene at Mrs. Bollers’ house if I hadn’t agreed to go home. He told me, in private of course, he thought I was really seeing Ptolo (Reid) [Deputy Prime Minister of Guyana Ptolemy Reid]. Later that night he again mentioned “Ptolo” and said he remembered what someone told him about me and Ptolo (I think he is making this up to get me upset and probably heard I was in Reid’s office a couple of times).
Sharon was a big help in cooling him down before she left because my outing was desertion in his vocabulary. She joked with him about all of his comments about sex. When he asked her why she didn’t have a fella, she said, “I’m taking interviews. Why, you’ve got somebody in mind?” Her quick relaxed comebacks are very good because my sense of
humor is nil. He needs to hear relaxed talk about sex since that is his obsession. He keeps chiding Debbi about not having any children. He asked me what kind of entertainment we have up there. I said movies, video TV, dances (this is an important point to all Guyanese), parties, sports, library. He said, “what if someone wants to fuck?” “Where do they go?” I asked if that is all he thinks about. I should have known that was the intention of this question. I get so sick of hearing about sex. He is always making comments about how much I like that big black cock. (I never told him I liked it.) Every day he accuses me of screwing somebody or having a boyfriend up there. He doesn’t believe it, I don’t think, but he harps on this same subject continually. Depending on the state of my temperament, depends the answer I give whether it is loving, witty, or annoyed. How should I answer? This same question comes up 5 times a day. I know he only wants to hear reassurance, but his insecurities is a bit on the insane side.
Monday, July 17
1. He woke me up to tell me he wanted to go to
Barbados next weekend. The subject hadn’t come up when we were alone before that so I hadn’t given him a definite no (I told him no once because I didn’t feel up to it, but he insisted the Barbados sunshine & clear ocean would make me better. I told him then I would see how I feel later, with every intention of telling him no.) Since talking to Sharon about any benefits in going, I didn’t know how to respond so I didn’t respond at all. The only advantage I can see is that if we have any business to take care of in Barbados or Trinidad, my passage & accommodations would be paid, otherwise I think he would only briefly be upset for a few days, but I don’t think I should tell him until the last minute or he may ask to talk to the Bishop and get you to encourage me to go. I didn’t know the meaning of the word “insecure” until I met Mann. This country’s in trouble if he’s typical, which I believe to be the case.
2. He woke me up again to ask me why I had given him the impression that we were in competition with USAID. I asked what I had said that ever gave him that impression. He grumbled and I asked again. He said he
must have been dreaming because he didn’t know what he meant. He then went on to tell me how the US had virtually cut off all of their aid to Guyana, the British had cut off all their aid to Guyana and the international agencies (more specifically he mentioned World Bank, IMF, and IDB – International Development Bank) have not given Guyana anything substantial. He said the biggest vote in these is the US and the US is not giving to Guyana. He said the international agencies and US are more trying to work in Jamaica in an attempt to cut off their relations with Cuba. He said socialism is a dirty word in the US, even moreso with the grassroots level than the higher eschelons. He said Mrs. Dwyer said Guyana doesn’t have it so bad with shortages. When she lived in Bulgaria, you always shop in twos. One person gets in the block long queues when you have one and the other person goes to the front of the line to find out what it is they are in line for and if you already have it, you go on to the next queue.
Mann said the Soviet Union isn’t interested
in helping Guyana because it isn’t of any strategic importance where Latin America is concerned. He said the USSR can’t afford another Cuba. His description of the USSR was that they cannot afford to extend themselves any further economically, people live like peasants, they have a shortage of consumer goods, and he gave a general description of the US press description.
I asked him what Guyana was going to do to overcome their economic problems. He said “that’s the question.” (He is very troubled about no economic aid from the US.) He said he thinks that Guyana should encourage foreign private investors and give them the security that their investments won’t be appropriated after a time. He said he thought it would take years to build up this kind of a relation with private investors because of their apprehension. He said he thought the kind of aid Guyana was getting is not what is needed. He said instead of these elaborate schemes like the hydropower project or the Black Bush Polder irrigation scheme, etc., which are 5 year
projects, that what Guyana needs is short-term projects which generate a product and employment like a glass factory or a bicycle factory.
He said the biggest problem Guyana is facing is the drain of technical and professional people leaving the country. He said they are leaving in droves. He asked, more of a statement of fact, if I knew how many people were lined up to get visas to the US. He said they are lined up out into the street and not just East Indian and Portuguese, but a high percentage of blacks. I asked him what Guyana was in the most need of. He said “management skills.” He made a remark before that the majority of the managerial people in state corporations were incompetent and crooks.
He said a country will get nowhere if all other technical and professional people are gone. (He is very upset about this but I still don’t think it wise to broach the subject about Larry [Schacht] because of his cynicism about our people not being free to make their
own choices – I mean in regard to the temptations of city life.) He is very upset with the two Doctors Skinner who moved to Trinidad. They were personal friends – and related through marriage, but they didn’t mention wanting to leave to him.
We discussed the main problem with production. He said the main problem is that all their foreign exchange is used up on necessary food commodities so they don’t have enough to give Guyanese businessmen the money to get raw materials which would produce products to export to bring in more foreign exchange. Then he said, “And it’s going to get worse.”
He also said that with these international agencies that they start these big projects and then set all these conditions from year to year or they will cut off their aid like IMF for example.
I am not sure how much of his own concern isn’t for his job since he hasn’t gotten any loans or grants from anyplace in the US.
I get the impression that the Prime
Minister is holding out against foreign private investors (and intend to ask him at a discreet time) or he wouldn’t be saying “my opinion is we need to encourage foreign private investors and guarantee their security.”
PS – He also said the time is past for a two-party state. He said that Guyana should only have one party and get down to the business of the economy instead of trying to show the world that we are a country with free elections and democracy, etc.
– This morning he got a call from his deputy ambassador about either an article or TV news report in the US which said that those opposing the referendum were beaten up and that there were riots and demonstrations with tear-gassing by the police.
– He said Guyana should not be concentrating on putting across an image as a Third World socialist country because the country is more in need of money and investors.
– He has played poker every day since I have been here.
– Nothing of significance in his briefcase.
– Probably this is already been conveyed many times, but I went to a couple of stores today (department stores) and I was shocked at how close to empty these stores are of consumer goods. By year end, many will be closed down completely. If we were able to supply a store, be it clothing, or a miscellany of goods, we should be able to make some money simply because of lack of availability. Because no foreign exchange is required, we would have no import license problems. Always before we’ve gotten bogged down with trying to save money by avoiding duty if we imported for sale, but I think we will make money even if we pay duty. I also believe we would be better to pay it and do everything aboveboard so as to have no backlash.
I think we should also involve ourselves with some exportable item, like the wooden ashtrays and humidors Mann suggested, and make some deal with our foreign market to ensure it will always have a source for foreign reserve. The Albatross could be that
foreign reserve source. We should consider opening an account somewhere in the Caribbean. My first choice would be Trinidad because their economy is the most stable due to their oil reserves.
I have no business sense but I think the plywood factory might be too big an investment for us when our expertise in such a field is questionable. If we do get a business, we should put one person solely responsible for management (with committee consultation), but like our problems before, if we have no one able to make decisions, we’ll get bogged down with indecision.