Q373 Transcript

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Jones: –so that we understand a bit of the general character of the society in which we live. We need to know about Guyana, its history. This is our land. This is where many of us will probably make our last stand and commitment in building for the ideals of Marxist-Leninism. However, if there’s ever a confrontation, I’m sure some of our people will find theirselves in other cities of the world, carrying on the work.

Guyana became an independent nation– and I want you all to listen and be quiet under the tent. Everywhere. I’m talking about history, now, not news. Guyana, the socialist cooperative republic of Guyana, became an independent nation within the British commonwealth on May 26, 1966, after 163 years as a British colony. Its parliamentary democracy, the country as of late 1968, was ruled by a coalition government formed by the two smaller parties of a three-party system, the Peoples National Congress, representing primarily the black Guyanese community, the United Force, representing Portuguese and right-wing and other European interests, held a slim majority of the seats in the National Assembly. The PNC was forced into coalition to be able to gain power in the coun– in the country. The opposition Marxist-Leninist party, the Peoples Progressive Party, represents the better part of the– the largest ethnic group, the East Indians, with over 50 percent of the population. The PPP is headed by Dr. Cheddi Jagan, a dentist, who is also Moscow-oriented, he makes frequent trips to Moscow in consultation about the course of m– his Marxist-Leninist thought in directing the affairs in Guyana.

The biggest imperialist influence dominates in the political structure and the practices of the government are based on English common law. Although the political leaders have mostly accepted British norms of political behavior, the attitudes of this population are determined more by ethnic ties and socio-economic status, where they are on the social and economic position of the spectrum. That is in– decreasing more and more with a continuous socialization of the country. Particularly the governmental system’s based on uh, British norm.

Authority of Guyana is exercised on behalf of her majesty, the Queen of England – was, that is, before its independence – by the appointed governor-general who was constitutionally limited to a largely cereminial– ceremonial role. The prime minister appointed from the elected members of the National Assembly and the cabinet are collectively responsible to the National Assembly. The constitution that presents a source of stability to the tri-party ethnically grouped political system. The imperialist plan that parties would form along ethnic lines by sowing racist division, before the imperialists were driven out, in the emancipation of May 26. Ethnic differentiation, rivalry and conflict are reflected in many facets of national life, and substantial problems of cultural integration exist on both local and national levels.

The bulk of the population is comprised of East Indians and Afro-Guyanese, as the blacks prefer to be called, with a segment of mixed elements. Formerly, blacks were in the– the dominant majority, but East Indians populate much more readily and much more quickly, there’re more propagation and then larger families, and so now the East Indians outnumber the Afro-Guyanese. Smaller numbers of Portuguese, other Europeans and Chinese together with the beautiful Amer-Indians, make up the remainder. The population is concentrated in a narrow coastal strip, with more than 70 percent rural living on plantations or in Indian villages along the coastal road. Usually one ethnic group – that means one race or another, or cultural group – predominates, but East Indians make up most of the rural population. We see that changing, however, here in the North West District, where mostly black now and Amer-Indians. The urban populations are predominantly Afro-Guyanese or black – become familiar with the term Afro-Guyanese, it means black – who utilize education as a means of economic and social improvement in the civil services, skilled trades, trade unions, teaching, medicine and law. The universal use of English has been a unifying cultural force, and does help to tie Guyana with the other countries of the British Caribbean. The English language and other cultural traditions, however, tend to isolate Guyana socially, economically, and politically from the predominantly Spanish states, the Hispanic states, of Latin America.

Guyana’s social class system continue to conform to British colonial criteria. Now, remember this book was written some time ago, and does not take into account the socialization that is now a feature of Guyanese society, the emancipation of people from the class system. As you know, our article yesterday in the widely-read– the most widely-read newspaper, the organ of our beloved government, the PNC, the Guyana Chronicle, Sunday Chronicle, praised us for overcoming chauvinism and sexism. I suppose Guyana as a socialist country is far more advanced in that area than any other socialist country, in the terms that all the leadership that is, in Cuba, being that there’s more of a communal structure, you can enforce features against sexism much more readily, but as policy, Prime Minister [Forbes] Burnham and his wife [Viola] particularly is a champion of woman’s rights and women’s emancipation. So it is that– for that reason that we were praised as the only group in the world that had really overcome sexism and emancipated women as you saw in yesterday’s Chronicle. How are you, my darling (unintelligible name).

The important feature of the Guyanese political system is the domination of the two– two political uh, parties. Guyana’s s– social class system continues to conform to British colonial criteria, but that’s changing rapidly. Birth and color, type of occupation, dress, speech pattern and food preferences, that’s all changed too. Used to be forced to wear a suit, no matter how hot it is, now they have their own Guyanese style of clothing.

In the last 20 years, the traditionally colonial European upper class has been broadened to include East Indians, Afro-Guyanese and Portuguese, who politically, economically, are educationally qualified. However, we’re seeing more blacks and East Indians emerge, and less and less European being the uh, rich class. No clear cut middle class as yet exist. This is also changing, with socialism. The lower class includes East Indian, or Afro– Afro-Guyanese peasants, industrial workers and artisans.

The family and kinship behavior generally reflect these– those assumptions and beliefs, which define and sanction a British kind of a– or imperialist nuclear family life. This too is changing, contrasting with the Hispanic countries of Latin America. Class and ethnic differences however have locally affected ideas and practices, which has been the plan of the exploiters, the multinationals and transnationals that exploited this country from the  USA and Britain.

The dominant religions are Hinduism and Islam. There are more Hindus here and
Islamic faith than Christians. Then followed by Christianity. Most of Islam is East Indian. However, there’s an increasing number of Afro-Guyanese that are becoming converts to Islam. Most Afro-Guyanese and the other ethnic groups uh, belong to the Christian community, but religion in general is losing its hold since the emerging of socialism in Guyana. Churches are dropping in attendance, Hindu uh, temples and mosques are dropping in attendance. Religion is losing more and more daily. Christian values, however, dominate in Guyana, although the increase in Indian population and the greater participation of East Indians in the society has brought recognition of their religious values and ethnic identity. (Aside) Come on in, (unintelligible word) (Back to mic) Different beliefs, however, may maintain the separate identities and antagonisms of the group. (Pause}

An important feature of the Guyanese political system is the dominance of two political parties.

By the way, England has practically gone fascist today in the news. The United Front, a neo-fascist organization with all the former followers of [Adolf Hitler], Oswald, uh, Mosley of the renegades of Hitler in the World War II picture have ascended, they’ve practically taken over the populace, and the United Front has brought about pressure on the government of England to force payment for East Indians– not to the East Indians and blacks, but forcing payment to a country that will take them, because they’re pushing them out of England. That’s how much racism has emerged in England. It’s almost on the border of race war, as the United Front fascists, outright adulators of Adolph Hitler, are practically taking over the populace. At a recent sports arena event, the largest of its nature annually, the soccer match, the United Front fascist went through and recruited half of the crowd, and they had to cancel the matches because so much protest arose at the coliseum against the presence of East Indians and blacks on the teams, that the annual match, the most uh, traditionally revered match, sports match in all of English history had to be cancelled because of a near outbreak of race riot.

An important feature, as I said, of the Guyanese political sys– uh, system is the dominance of two political parties, a reflection of the assimilation of Anglo Saxon norms of political behavior by the educated elite. The electoral process remains a principle form of competition.

By the way, be sure that the Griffiths children, uh, Margaret, be sure that they speak to uh, Mary. They’re out here now. And Dana [Truss] should also speak to them. (Pause) When does the boat leave (unintelligible word)

The electoral process remains a principle form of competition for political power. Another form of political power are Guyana’s trade unions, strong socialist trade unions, headed under the TUC, which made a strong mandate against capitalism – as I read to you in the news, I gave commentary to you in the news yesterday – which reflect the ethnic divisions of the county. However, that’s changing. Unions for sugar workers, or the rice workers, dominated by the East Indians. And those of the bauxite and factory labor are controlled by the Afro-Guyanese or the black. Extra-institutional modes of political competition for power have also resulted from the ethnic orientation, or the racial orientation of the two major political parties, civil violence and the use of personal appeal and oratorical skills by their leaders. An appeal to racism has been made in the past by the East Indians.

Economic power in Guyana is primarily dependent upon the overwhelming importance of its major export industries and their associated commercial banks and insurance companies. Almost totally foreign owned, as of the time of this writing. However, now, almost all of the commercial banks and insurance companies have been taken over by the socialist government.

In the past, colonial policy tended to accommodate the policies of those foreign enterprises, capitalist enterprises that were milking the blood of this very rich country of Guyana, who used their influence to discourage diversification and other developmental policy that kept the country in a backward state of economy. And uh, that they– they wouldn’t tolerate anything, any new industries that would create competition for them, for the labor market, which was cheap, until now we have minimum wage laws of 8.50 a day. In the days of colonial you– before the li– liberation in May 26, 196– uh, 1966, until that time, workers uh, averaged a dollar a day. Despite popular response for nationalization since independence, the government has recognized the foreign-owned private sector an as essential element of the economy. That is also changed. Eighty percent of all foreign-owned, uh, and all– not only foreign-owned, but all uh, uh, corporations are under the control of the socialist government. And both political parties have supported policies designed to maximize foreign investment. That is not true any longer. The PPP is opposed to all foreign investment, the PNC is increasingly curbing any kind of foreign investment and requires that in any corporate effort, where foreigners are involved, at least 52 percent of the stock must be owned by Guyanese citizens.

Despite their influence, however, the largely foreign-owned enterprises have tended not to interfere with domestic policy, because they’re not permitted to, the socialist government doesn’t tolerate it. Economic prospects are closely linked to developments in the agricultural economy which employed over a third of the population and contributed almost two-thirds of its total exports in 1966. Like other tropical countries, however, Guyana is dependent on too few export products, and there’s still considerable un– underemployment of farm labor, and the multinationals held them down so there have not been a diversification of the economy, and even what they did export, they uh– in former days of colonial rule, they would end up exporting all their sugar and rice, and have none left, even to eat on themselves. Gone have to eat a form of meal. They were kept under uh, actual in poverty– impoverished conditions.

The other prospect for economic development is dependent upon the exploitation of mineral resources and the broadening of the country’s narrow manufacturing base, especially those relating to import substitution. Economic progress may be slow. However, unless economic power is based in the future upon a unified society rather than upon ethnic diversity, difficulties will arise. And this is, as I say, hopefully changing. Agricultural including agro-industries, fisheries and forestry, accounted for almost a quarter of Guyana’s national income in 1966. That is no longer true today. But over a fifth of the country’s food requirements had to be imported, and that is no longer true at all. None of the food uh, requirements are imported. Self-sufficiency is the rule of the day, and the rule of law, by the enlightened awareness of the People National Congress, the socialist Marxist-Leninist vanguard party that governs this country. The need to expand and diversify agricultural products in order to reduce dependence upon the two main export crops, sugar and rice, was matched by one, to reduce dependence on imported food supplies. Agricultural production and productivity, however, is complicated by problems of increasing soil exhaustion and the need for extensive fertilizations. Governmental plans for opening new lands to agriculture in the interior are complicated by requirements for expensive irrigation, drainage, flood and tidal control – that’s uh, somewhat of propaganda, we’re doing reasonably well without those measures – surveying and transportation works. Meanwhile, efforts to improve the position of rice and sugar exports are complicated by world market competition and the foreign control of the sugar industry, with capitalists particularly trying to destabilize Guyana because of its Marxist course in government. Stand by. (Pause)

Let the children come and talk, will you? (Pause) Give her a lot of love and encouragement. Uh– Yeah, that’s what I mean. Dana, uh– Dana should be coming in to talk. Where’s Dana Truss?

The expansion and development of bauxite, the produce [product] which recently replaced sugar as the country’s major export, is one of Guyana’s great economic prospects for– in the future. Aluminum. The country is one of the world’s leading producers in the entire world. It’s a rich country. Potentially one of the richest. Until the latter part of 1968, when operations were suspended, manganese was Guyana’s second large scale mining industry. On certain world prices did not warrant continuing production of it or expansion. Gold and diamond mining are dominated by a few companies. Also the manganese developers found richer places to exploit, and so they’re exploiting them for the time being – hi, my beloved son – because they would work the workers for pittance, two dollars a day. But alluvial deposits have proved less productive, even though there’s much ga– gold and diamond – hi, baby – than had been hoped.

Guyana’s timber industry is based primarily of export of greenheart, valued for its great strength and resistance to termites, marine borers and oil borers and decay. Strongest wood in the world. Greenheart. Comes from Guyana. A detailed United Nations survey of the nation’s forest resources made legal exploitation of the 70,000 acres of Guyana’s interior. The manufacturing base of Guyana is narrow. Sugar and rice milling account for two-thirds of all industrial production, by the planned, uh, backward development of the capitalist to assure that they’d have no competition, when the foreigners exploited the country. Secondary industries are chiefly engaged in food products– product manufacturing or processing. Rum, the best in the world, molasses, beer, preserves and shrimp. Or non-food industries, paints, drugs and clothing, that are increasing as a world potential export market.

(Pause)

Child: (too soft)

Jones: What is it? (Pause) Talk (unintelligible word) security to come up, they haven’t come up yet.

Male: (too soft)

(tape edit)

Jones: They’re late. You said front gates, they’re supposed to be up here? (unintelligible sentence), and uh, they’re– they’re late, for some reason, the front gate.

(Low conversation)

Jones: Front gate people that’ll go up– come to the dining area quickly, so you can make your replacement at the front gate. Okay.

Competition from other tropical countries, despite the government’s efforts to reverse the trend of an unfavorable balance of (unintelligible word) trade, Guyana remains a net importer of manufactured consumer and capital goods. No longer true, ha-ha-ha. Even though this book’s written by a capitalist. They’re not any longer a net importer.
They do not, because of the wise planning of the Leninist– Marxist-Leninist government, the PNC. Competition from other tropical countries is serious for agricultural exports, and the requirements of a rapidly growing population will tend to increase import totals of goods and foodstuffs, despite increasing local production. And again, this book was proved wrong. (Pause) Imports are not increasing, but decreasing every day.

The government’s goal for education in Guyana reflect the present government’s aim to foster public oriented, rather than family oriented life patterns, to educate Guyanese for urban living and socialist living, and a position in skilled industrial-oriented labor force, providing compulsory education aimed at national literacy, which, by the way, Guyana has one of the highest literacy rates in the world – 96 percent – and training, and educating public servants. It’s– no, it’s 97 percent now. And promising scholars. The needs for national economic and political development have thus dominated the government’s planning for technical, vocational, and agricultural training programs of a practical nature, instead of the old bourgeois capitalist emphasis upon liberal arts only for the rich and the elite. Guyanese leadership, while retaining the close ties with Britain in the past, has started to form foreign policy goals related to self-government entirely since independence. Policy is dominated by the needs of a newly-independent socialist developing country. Trade and foreign aid needs are considered primary over internal ideological issues.

In addition to continued close relations with Great Britain and the Commonwealth nations, as it has been in the past, and a commitment to Caribbean economic integration, Guyana also participates actively in the United Nations and maintains relations (Pause) with the United States and India, which, by the way, are both cooled after the Soviet-Indian government uh, alliance with the government, uh– under go– the uh– Mrs. uh, [Indira] Gandhi was overthrown, India and uh, Guyana were in very cold relations and so, until just recently, the United States and India– uh, the United States and Guyana didn’t even exchange ambassadors. They recalled their ambassadors, relations had been so bad, but they’re beginning to improve under Andy Young. Uh– However, there’s been no money as proof of that improvement. There been no trade or commerce. Despite these ties, however, the country has defended its territorial integrity, even when the United States tried to use influence to get them to give up some of their territory to Venezuela, particularly in border disputes with neighboring Venezuela and Surinam.

Guyana’s geography– and that’s why we’re so important to Guyana, uh, that we represent more population, and part of the agreement with Guyana and Venezuela was that if they increased their population, Venezuela would cease making demands upon this part of the territory that they want to claim out of some uh, imperialist interest.

Guyana’s geography has had considerable influence on the country’s societal and cultural patterns. Thank you. In the most important natural region, the 10- to 40-mile wide coastal plain, has concentrated most of the population, the majority of whom depend upon agriculture based upon the silty clays lying within 10 miles of the sea. The dependence of habitation and cultivation upon the complex and co– costly sea defenses and drainage canals has also enforced the economic and cultural interdependence of the major race groups, which has been helping to bring about racial inclusiveness. Despite their ethnic traditional differences, the requirements of plantation agriculture in the past required African slaves and freemen, East Indian indentured laborers, and Portuguese and Chinese uh, indentured servants, contract workers, to share a common language, which was good, Anglo-Saxon colonial values and attitudes, and British legal institutions.

The remaining four natural regions of the country have problems of infertility and inaccessibility, which is changing, as we see, because we’re right as deep in the interior as you can get. Although development is being achieved through the exportation of minerals and hardwood forest– forest and the white sand and clay, forested high lands, the Pakaraima mountain regions and the cattle raising in the Rupununi region. It doesn’t say anything of the North West District, which uh, according to this book is not even being developed, and here we are, right in the North West Region developing it, and we’re seeing it develop around us.

I’m going to stop for radio traffic, then I will go on with the fiscal environment of our beautiful Guyana. It’s amazing that so much history uh, of the turmoil of the past and how we emerged from slavery and how we brought the– the political dynamics of six– six major racial groups together in a reasonable racial harmony. There’s much to be learned about Guyana. And we must now concentrate on knowing all there is to know about Guyana, its push– political socio-economic interest, its history, all about its culture. Guyana is our home. And if you have interest in the USA, it’s because you’re sick, sick sick sick, after they killed one of our own [Chris Lewis] and nearly tried to poison your mother [Marceline Jones].

(tape edit)

The Guyana region including Guyana, Surinam, French Guyana and parts of Brazil and Venezuela, is an area bounded by the Orinoco river on the west and north west by the Amazon, the great mighty river of wonders, and the Rio Negro on the south, by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and northeast. Guyana uh, occupies approximately 10 percent of this entire area. Guyana is one of the native American dialects, mean– it– it means– Guyana means in Amerindian, land of waters. So let’s know what Guyana means. All of you say, Guyana means land of waters. The country has an area of 83,000 square miles, equal to the size of the state of Idaho, and extends between one degree and nine degree north latitude and from 56 degrees to 60 degrees west longitude. With a 270-mile coastline, facing the Atlantic Ocean on the northeast, Guyana is bounded by the west by Venezuela – that’s over as I point that way – and Brazil on the east. (Pause) Vene– Br– Brazil is just a little below us. It reaches up underneath Venezuela. Brazil is uh, one of the largest countries in the world. On the west is Venezuela, and just below Venezuela is Brazil. On the east this way, is Suriname, formerly Dutch Guiana, and on the south again is Brazil. Although Guyana is more than 200 miles from the Caribbean, it can be viewed as a Caribbean sugar dye– paradise island, perched on the northeast shoulder of South America, that’s separated from the mainland by swamps a few miles inland.

A great bulk of population, over 90 percent, resides on the narrow sugar island along the northeastern coast of Guyana. Could you give me some water in there? The interior, except for isolated mining, ranching, and Amerindian settle– settlements, is nearly uninhabited and highly inaccessible. However, the vast interior of Guyana has been a constant and often politically-influential element throughout Guyana’s history. (Pause) Its real and potential resources are at once attractive, promising, yet problematical, as Guyana’s rapidly expanding population, now over 700,000, outgrows the narrow coastal plain.

Guyana, first settled by the Dutch in 1616, became a part of the British Empire, the colonial empire, in 1814, and remained such until 1966, when it gained its freedom in May 26. Even though Guyana is an immigrant society, it is bypassed by all major migratory and trade routes. Although the Pilgrims considered that Guyanas in 1620, history would’ve gone a different way if the Pilgrims had settled here, up– except up in the United States. Thank goodness they didn’t settle on the Plymouth Rock– I mean, that they settled on the Plymouth Rock instead of here. But the Pilgrims considered the Guyanas, that racist religious outfit did, in 1620, before deciding to settle in North America on the Plymouth Rock. A sugar plantation society for most of its history, Guyana remains for the great bulk of its population, agricultural. It has over 700,000 people, nearly 800,000 now, clustered on five percent of the land area. Ninety-five percent of its land goes unused. That leaves a– the widest open, unpioneered territory in the entire area. Living for the most part, Guyanese do, in small villages very close to the coastline. Interior’s inhabited by only 40,000 persons, of whom nearly 30,000 are native Amerindians.

The climate is typically equatorial, with two rainy and two dry seasons during most years. But temperatures are moderated by sea breezes which sweep in from the Atlantic and make it very comfortable throughout the year. Rainfall is plentiful– plentiful over nearly all of Guyana, but vegetation is controlled more by soil type than by climate. Temperature ranges are higher in the interior mountains and savannahs, but nowhere are they extreme. They’re moderate. Guyana is the south– is to the south of the hurricane belt, and faces very few recurrent weather threats. Although rainfall tends to fluctuate widely from year to year, it has a considerable effect of sugar and rice production.

Drainage in Guyana along four principal rivers and their many tributaries flows generally from the south and west of the interior, where uh, elevations reach 9094 feet at Mount Roraima, at the point of intersection of the borders of Guyana. It’s nearly 10,000 feet high. Venezuela and Brazil, all at– at that point, at that point, Mount Ro– (struggles over name) Roraima–­ Roraima is at the point where Brazil, Venezuela and the uh, Guyanese nation intersects, near the Pakaraima Mountains. And it’s 10,000 feet high there, they even have snow. Snowing now, did you know that? Brazil towards the coastal plain in the northwe– east, where the land is four feet below sea level in places. These rivers are of little value as access routes to the interior, due to the rapids and falls, from 50 to 100 islands– some 100 miles inland, (unintelligible name) Kaituma Falls on the po– Potaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo is nearly 200 feet wide– 250 feet wide and has a vertical drop of 741 feet, that makes Niagara Falls look like nothing by comparison to Kaitume Falls.

Guyana is divided into three geographical zones, within which there are several additional geological features. On the coast there’s a narrow belt of alluvial soils, most of which lie below high tide level and is protected by a system of sea defenses and canals. The coastal plains occupy approximatively five percent of the total land area. South of this zone, Guyana is covered by a lush equatorial forest, extending to the very borders of Brazil and Venezuela, over 70,000 square miles of territory, or 84 percent of the total area. The third main geographical area is a savannah grassland, which lies behind the coastal belt in the northeast and beyond the forest in the southwest. These savannahs occupy the remaining 11 percent of Guyana and support only low grasses, useful for land-expensive cattle grazing. Very known– very widely-known for cattle raising. (Pause)

The coastal plain of northeastern Guyana was first settled in the early eighteenth century, 1700s, when the Dutch, having exhausted the riverside soils along the near interior rivers, were forced to begin with reclamation of the plain from the sea tides and inland river swamps. The plains became heavily settled in the nineteenth century after the British gained control. They introduced large numbers of East Indians as indentured servants to work with the sugar plantations after slavery was abolished in 1833. It was abolished here much earlier by the British than it was in the States, some 30 to 40 years later. The United States was the last to be enlightened enough to destroy slavery.

These extensive system of sea defenses, the coastal plain, if it were not for many palms and other tropical vegetation, looks much like the coast of the Netherlands. The sea defenses include 140 miles of sea wall, and canals for irrigation and drainage. The plain ranges from three to four miles wide and extends from the Courantyne River on the border with Suriname, to the Venezuelan border in the northwest. But it is not settled beyond the Pomeroon River on the near northwest coast, where the plain narrows and the soil becomes less fertile. The northeastern coastal plain, where 94 percent of the population lives, has a total area of 2.5 million acres, of which two million would be suitable for agriculture, just if there were proper irrigating drain. At present over 700,000 acres are under si– cultivation, out of one million acres that have already been reclaimed. The plain, much of it below sea level by as much as five feet as– uh, at high tide, is rarely cultivated beyond ten miles inland. And the first behind the seawall is generally used for either pasture or rice, which can survive the high water table and high salinity or salt that’s in the soil. The soil. The coastal plain is made up largely of alluvial muds from the Amazon River, which has been carried and deposited along the northeast shoulder of South America by the south equatorial currents, as it splits on the Horn of Brazil and travels along the coast parts– past of the Guyanas. This mud, a rich clay of high fertility for growing things, overlays the white sands and clays found from the erosion of the interior bedr– bedrock and carried seaward by the rivers of Guyana.

The northeastern coastal plain is divided is divided into four distinct sections, and travel is made difficult by the three major Guyanese rivers. They are from east to west, the Berbice, the Demera– Demerara, and the Essequibo. The plain is cut off from interior of forest zone. We’re going from east to west now. The major rivers are Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo. The plain is cut off from the interior of forest zone by a bowl of swamps which is formed between the white sandy hills of the interior and the back bends of the coastal plain drainage and irrigation works. These swamps prevented from intruding into the crop– croplands by the back bends, so their useful purpose as water conservancies are natural reservoirs during periods of drought. It’s also speculated by the imperialist that Guyana would be one of the better areas of the world to conduct long-range go– guerilla tactics. Guerilla resistance. By far, the largest of Guyana’s regions, this 70,000 square mile equatorial forest, is also the most geographically complex. It includes nearly all of Guyana’s known mineral resources, of which bauxite and manganese are now being exploited at several sites. Its vast hardwood lumber reserves are largely inaccessible, but still represent a great natural resource of wealth. Initial surveys for hydroelectric power potential are very promising, if costly to implement. Estimated it’s going to be 880 million dollars to begin, with aid that it’s now (unintelligible word). Geographical from the coastal plain of about 40 miles from the coast, the forest zone consist of a fruity plain, an eroded plateau, which as a whole presents a relief of softly undulating forest-covered hills, running towards the northeast and ranging from 400 feet in elevation in the interior to 50 feet near the coastal plain.

This area also known in part as the white sands of (unintelligible name) belt is from 80 to 100 miles in width and extends from the Pomeroon River into Surinam. Th– These low sandy hills are laced with metaphoric and ingenuous [metamorphic and igneous] intrusions of basic rocks, and the relief is accident– accentuated by ranges of rockier hills running out from the Kaieteurean Plateau and the Pacaraima Mountains. These hills, not yet worn down by erosion, are marked by rapids and falls as the rivers descend through them. Although very infertile, being most pure quartz, the white sands support a dense hardwood forest. (Pause) If these trees are removed, erosion is rapid and severe. So the removal of trees has to be thi– carefully thought out in any area. Guyana’s valuable bauxite reserves are also concentrated in the white sands belt. They lie in strata, 15 miles wide and 30 feet thick from the Pomeroon into Surinam, lying under nearly 100 feet of sand. The deposits may be associated with an ancient coastline. The white sands occupy an area of over 6000 square miles in the central near interior of the forest zone. They thin out in the northwest and merge into another loose sedimentary soil in the higher elevations of the zone. The Kaieteurean Plateau that has the most beautiful falls in the wall– in the world, and the Pacaraima Mountains dominate west central Guyana. The plateau is generally about 2000 feet in elevation, but mountains rise as high as 10,000 feet near Venezuela and Brazil. This ancient (unintelligible word) plateau– plateau was once below sea level in geological times. Can you imagine that. Ten thousand feet was below sea level in early geological times. And is overlain with sad– sandstones and shapes of sedimentary or sedimen– sedimentary origin. The mountains and hills above the plateau are the results of intrusions of basic eruptive rocks. This mountain range separates Guyana from the Orinoco River watershed, and is the source of several of the main tributaries of the Essequibo, especially the Mazaruni, which may prove to have considerable hydroelectric potential for the entire world. One source states that the bauxite reserves of Guyana are from the eroded edges of these plateaus and mountains. In the northwest of Guyana, this heavily-forest– forested plateau of weathered bedrock extends, although much lower in elevation, almost to the coast itself, leaving a very narrow coastal plain near the river mouth. Manganese is being exploited on the plateau at El Cappa on the Balina River [phonetic], and there are several other important areas of mineral wealth on the plateau which are presently unexploited, due to the inaccessibility and lack of power and capital.

The savannahs of Guyana occupy when mountain areas encircled (Pause) (unintelligible name), nearly 10,000 square miles. The highest and the largest savannah, the Rupununi, divided into a northern and southern section by the Kanuku Mountains, covers approximately 6000 square miles and lies in the extreme southwestern part of Guyana. The Kanuku Mountains reach nearly 3000 feet and cover 1750 square miles, while the savannah itself is approximately 250 feet above sea level on either side of the Rupununi River which floods and covers the savannah during the rainy season, still, even though it was 250 feet above sea level. A second area of savannah, the intermediate savannah, lies about 60 miles inland from the Berbice coast and enclosed by the forest of the white sands belt, covers nearly 2000 square miles. Both savannahs support only sparse grasses for pasturing on a land extensive bases, from 40 to 70 acres per head. There’s also some shifting preservation by the Amerindians along the Rupununi banks and in the foothills of the Kanuku mountains. The Rupununi is very isolated. Letham– Latham, the administrative headquarters near the Brazilian border in the heart of the savannah country, is over 200 miles from the nearest paved road, and air freight is the only practical way to get local produced beef to markets in Georgetown. This has changed, though, since the writing of this book, Guyana has built roads. But because it’s flat and not covered with equatorial forest, many Guyanese, while still living on the coastal plain, have high hopes for development in the Rupununi, about which more is known than perhaps any other area of the interior.

Drainage in Guyana is generally from the south and southwest toward the Atlantic in the north and northeast. The four principal rivers from east to west, as I said again, the Courantyne, which follows the border, (unintelligible word) but lies within Surinam. The Berbice, the Demerara, and the Essequibo form the main coastal plain of 120 miles. The remainder of the coastline, 150 miles in the northwest, is also cut by several smaller rivers. Between the four major rivers, there are several rivers, (unintelligible name), the Mahaicony, the (stumbles over unintelligible name), and Mahaica. Of local importance that originate in the intermediate savannah. The main rivers and their tributaries originate well into the interior. The Essequibo, its headwaters in Brazil, is over 600 miles long, drains more than a half of Guyana, and has an estuary 14 miles wide. The Essequibo is 14 miles wide at its widest. The four main tributaries of the Essequibo, the Mazaruni, the Cuyuni, and the Potaro, and the Rupununi, all flow into the river of the west. And with the exception of the Rupununi, all drain the Kaieteurian Plateau.

Guyana as a whole is a part of the Amazon (stumbles over name) Orinoco watershed. (Pause) And the headwaters of the Essequibo and its tributaries are often confused with those of the Amazon.

Overall drainage is rather poor, as the average gradient of the main rivers is only one foot per mile. Even the mountains and savannahs of Guyana, there are extensive swamps and flooding, and all new land projects require extensive drainage control before they are suitable for agricultural use. Much of this drainage is now taking place.

The rivers of Guyana are also limited as access routes to the interior as falls or low water stop navigation, thus all these permit great area of– for activity for guerilla resistance in case of imperialist threat. All but the smallest craft cannot get through, at from 40 miles upstream on the Essequibo to 60 miles on the Demerara and Courantyne, and little more than 100 miles on the Bu– Berbice. Their estuaries hinder movement along the coastal plain, and there is periodic debate over bridging the Demerara, at present a venture of extremely high cost.

Stream flow, but not stream level, varies widely with the season, June and July being the peak flood months, March and April being the months of least flow. Tides have considerable effect on coastal drainage problems. Used irrigation water is exhausted by gravity or pump at low tide in a– most of the coastal plain. The tides during the lunar months range from 3.5 during the first and third quarters, to 7.75 during the second and fourth.

Oh, how much my mother [Lynetta Jones] loved to hear of Guyana. It makes me sad, that some of you are not interested. She just loved to hear about all of this beauty in the– in the forest and jungle.

This tidal flow carries up river from 40 to 50 miles on the four main rivers. On the smaller rivers, tidal flow is negligible, because the sand bars off the coast prevent the tide from entering the small estuaries, which due to excessive (unintelligible word), have cut no channels to the sea.

Guyana has very few beaches in the usual sense. Mud from the Amazon and from her own rivers keep the water off Guyana a brown churning mass of sand bars, semi-liquid muds, and clouded water. At Georgetown, there is a sandbar two miles at sea which limits vessels to nine feet of draft at low tide and 20 at high. New Amsterdam’s bar at the mouth of the Berbice is three miles at sea, and limits vessels to seven and sixty feet at low and high tide respectively. These bars, always shifting, force the half loading of ships at Georgetown and New Amsterdam. Mud flats continue up to 15 miles off shore, before navigation is considered completely free and safe.

The drainage and irrigation system of Guyana’s coastal plain is expensive and costly, so costly as to make small scale operations not worth the efforts in some areas. Both drainage and irrigation systems grew haphazardly throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many areas have had to be abandoned, and new areas have proven very costly to open due to the poor drainage of the plain on the needs for irrigation water for flood following to control the salinity, the salt, saltiness, for the rice and the sugar crops during dry years and for transport of goods. Poor drainage has also made mechanization difficult.

(Pause, radio in background) Turn it off, will you? Margaret? (Pause) We’ll continue– We’ll continue at another time, because of interference of radio transmit–

(Tape edit)

(Long pause)

(Music recorded from classical music station for final 8:16 of the tape)

Originally posted on May 14th, 2022.

Last modified on May 16th, 2022.
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