The PNC and the bauxite unions have been beating up on the PPP for the travails of the bauxite industry after they took office in 1992. Nothing much is said, of course, about why the industry – which was NUMBER ONE in the world when the PNC nationalised it in 1970 – had collapsed by 1992. The short answer is that of Walter Rodney: anything touched by Burnham’s turned to sh*t!!
But, really, it was a bit more complex than that, since reasons varied for the transmutation into doo-doo. However, the reasons should be of interest to us once again, now that bauxite is again on the line. Burnham removed the professionals who had the institutional memory to run the industry, and placed it into the hands of party faithful, who could only run it into the ground. Burnham suffered from the colonial disease prevalent in natives — assuming all you needed to run things was “being smart”. Academically!!
Haslyn Parris might’ve been a smart fella… but he didn’t know squat about bauxite. So it wasn’t surprising that production started to fall after the lack of capital investment under his watch kicked in. And the fall of production led to missed shipments – which the efficiency demands of the aluminium industry in the developed world just couldn’t accept. They turned to other (more reliable) suppliers – like China, whose bauxite wasn’t as “sweet” as ours. By 1985, even though Desmond Hoyte stood on his head, he couldn’t entice investments to turn around the bauxite production. He started the IMF privatisation programme.
The PNC and the unions will never accept it was the PPP that stabilised the industry after 1992. They’ll never concede that Jagdeo and company also had to stand on their heads to save jobs in Bauxite. And this is where the present flap over Rusal comes in.
The Opposition might pretend to forget, but it took Jagdeo’s personal intervention with Putin back in 2004 to have Rusal pick up the Berbice bauxite operations from an alphabet-soup series of companies that kept merging to survive.
And we come to the 4.7 acres of land Brassington and Singh were dragged to the courts over. This was land sold to Rusal’s Deripaska. Why question THAT US$1 million sale and not the US$20 million debt Russia wrote off to sweeten the deal? Or the US$20 million injection Rusal immediately made?
This government hasn’t a clue as to how real businesses operate. They’ll soon find out, as our BCGI bauxite deliveries falter and Rusal’s forced to reduce production of aluminium due to Trump’s sanctions.
And they have to offer “inducements” to make them stay, in order to keep their supporters happy.
Looks like there’s the need for another Solomon on this matter of forming a GUYSUCO Board. We have the one already announced – (in three newspapers, with pictures and all!!) – by the head of the SPU, seemingly with the blessings of Finance Minister Jordan. Then there’s the one that Agri Minister Holder promised to announce after announcing the SPU Board wasn’t authorised. Now Minister of State Harmon – who’s supposed to reflect Cabinet’s thinking – says all the names for the Board haven’t been finalised!!
So what is it going to be?? Are we going to have the Solomon-like decision to divide the two boards and merge their rump elements? Not likely, ‘cause we know the real question that needs to be answered is whether Thomas would be back, don’t we?
But that’s where the President has to come in, doesn’t he? With him mum, his administration’s not only drifting, but segments of it are on collision courses with each other!!
PNC vs AFC!!! WPA taken hostage!!
…on infinite regression
First, the PNC hauled PPP officials to the courts on “misconduct in a public official” charges. Then the PPP reciprocated with two PNC ministers – but the DPP dropped the latter charge.
Now AG Williams threatens “civil actions” by PNC ministers against PPP chargers.
Then the PPP will file charges…??