Eyewitness: Facing reality…in sugar

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VP Jagdeo dropped a hint that the Government may not reopen Skeldon Estate for producing sugar, after all. The Opposition, of course, are chortling in merriment that the PPP’s commitment to reopening the four estates – closed by the PNC – was only campaign “bait and switch”!! Of course, the PNC are only projecting their own state of mind when they made their promise to keep all the then 7 estates going during their 2015 elections campaign.

They actually set up a COI – with Clive Thomas, Chairman of GuySuCo – that recommended the estates be rehabilitated and brought to a point of sale to private investors. The PPP – and most objective observers – didn’t object to that; they knew the industry was challenged. It was Granger’s unilateral decision to disregard his own COI recommendations and unilaterally shutter the four estates that irked!! This was generated because 7000 sacked sugar workers weren’t given any alternative employment!!

And it’s this reality of social upheaval generated by that decision that made the PPP promise in all good faith in 2020 that they’d reopen the estates. On entering office, they realised that, strategically, sugar mightn’t strategically be in our national employment’s best interest. Quite maturely, the PPP didn’t stand on false pride, and accepted change for the greater good. Sugar would always be a low-paying employer when we’re competing with almost slave-like conditions in places like Brazil. The question remained, however: how to deal with the social dislocation of unemployed sugar workers?

The PPP’s answer was to provide better-paying alternative employment, as has occurred for centuries as some industries became obsolete. Right here in Guyana, around the time of emancipation, most of our cotton and coffee plantations were transitioned into sugar!! For Wales, the PPP felt the answer was to transition the location to handle the upcoming gas-to-shore power generation and manufacturing hub. In the meantime, however, the PPP offered several interventionary packages of money and goods industry-wide to tide the workers over. That’s what the PNC ignored.

The Government’s been pumping money into bringing back Rose Hall estate, but it is clear that the workers themselves would decide whether there’s a long-term future there. With the Skeldon factory still a challenge, (no one seems to remember this decision was that of the expert managers brought in by Hoyte – Booker Tate!!) the Government pragmatically accepting that they should bow to reality and diversify the lands into higher-profit cash crops. The key point is that they haven’t deserted the workers, and are offering part-time jobs in the interregnum.

As your Eyewitness has said, the PPP’s development trajectory looks so steep it’ll make the ultimate decision on the sugar industry’s fate!!

…on misogynistic violence

Your Eyewitness has written so many times on this subject that he’s now filled with rage at men’s inhumanity to women whenever he reads the dailies – which is daily. He doesn’t have to even open the newspapers, since there – on the front page daily – is the graphic evidence of violence inflicted on women in whatever means possible. And some you didn’t think possible.

Stabbings with knives, broken bottles, or whatever sharp objects are at land; immolations with gasoline; beatings, breaking of limbs, running over with vehicles, hired killers, burning down houses, drownings etc. As your Eyewitness has opined, this gotta come from a deep reservoir of anger within our men for our better halves. And what’s the reason? That most men know they can’t measure up to their women?

And yet they want to control them? And THAT’s the real reason, isn’t it? Our millennia-induced patriarchal values just can’t accept that women aren’t men’s toys!!
The law has to deal more condignly with this attitude!! Or men may be Bobbited!!

…on racism

Racism MUST be protested whenever it rears its ugly head. And that’s almost constantly, because of the pervasiveness of the phenomenon. But we should ensure the facts are clear, since lives can be destroyed on sometimes false allegations.