Guyana offers to trade rain forest for aid

Nov. 24, 2007 at 3:58 PM

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Guyana has offered to preserve its entire rain forest with control going to a British-led international group in return for economic aid.

The assistance would be used to convert the South American nation to a "green" economy, The Independent reported. President Bharrat Jagdeo said he is looking for both technical help and backing for private-sector development.

"We are a country with the political will and a large tract of standing forest," Jagdeo said. "I'm not a mercenary, this is not blackmail and I realize there's no such thing as a free lunch. I'm not just doing this just because I'm a good man and want to save the world, I need the assistance."

Guyana, located between Venezuela and Brazil, is the only English-speaking country in South America because of its history as a British colony. Most of its million people live near the coast, while its interior rain forests are the size of Britain.

In 1989, Guyana deeded 1 million acres of rain forest to the Commonwealth of Nations as a reserve.

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