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New Left Review I/47, January-February 1968

Allen Young


Barely 18 months since becoming technically independent, Guyana is well on its way to becoming a model example of neo-colonialism in South America. Amid much talk of neutralism and planned economy, the political régime has adopted policies of frank subservience to the United States and other imperialist nations, especially Great Britain and Canada. It has instituted anti-Communism as a semi-official ideology, and gone full speed ahead with plans to keep the government perpetually out of the hands of the People’s Progressive Party, the Marxist movement headed by Dr Cheddi Jagan. Guyana has unabashedly called on the United States, Britain and Canada not only to maintain but to expand their exploitation of the nation’s natural and human resources. While most neo-colonial régimes try to conceal the truth that their chief attraction is cheap labour, Guyana brazenly advertises the fact. The Economic Future of Guyana, a publication of the official Guyana Development Corporation, trumpets that the basic government wage is only four dollars a day, while in some sectors, such as commerce and the clothing industry, workers can be had for two dollars a day or less. ‘In pursuit of its policy to expand industrial exports, Guyana offers skilled and semi-skilled labour at low rates.’ Other concessions for would-be investors (who have responded at a gratifying rate, claims this self-styled ‘socialist’ government) include tax holidays, land give-aways, and no restriction on the repatriation of profits, capital or capital gains.

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Allen Young, ‘Guyana’, NLR I/47: £3

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