EYEWITNESS: Forked tongue…

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…on sugar

You could’ve knocked your Eyewitness down with a feather! He’d just read a report of President Granger’s speech at an environmental meet in far-off Kenya. There, he extolled the virtues of his “Green Guyana” – which couldn’t have taken long since the gist of that “plan” is to paint public buildings green – the colour of his PNC!

The President declared, “People, therefore, must be at the heart of the development of our natural resources. People must come before profits.” Could you believe it??!! This from a man who declared “sugar days done” before the elections, modified his rhetoric to sucker Nagamootoo and Ramjattan into bed, then promptly reverted to his original plan!
When he decided to shut down half of GuySuCo, weren’t the 7000 sugar workers to be thrown into the streets “people”?? Didn’t they bleed? Didn’t they feel? Was it because most of them were Indian Guyanese who supported the Opposition? But they were still “Guyanese” and he’s President of all Guyana, isn’t he?

But you may say, dear reader, Granger was talking about the use of “natural resources”, not sugar. But sugar and all agricultural pursuits DO use a natural resource – indeed, one of our most valuable – SOIL! Your Eyewitness understands sugar MUST make profits – and sugar hasn’t been making profits. But didn’t the President’s CoI recommend the Government inject funds into the industry for three years to bring it to a point of sale? Why hasn’t he explained deep-sixing that recommendation?

Then we have this good-cop/bad-cop routine from Harmon and Holder. After the latest show of bad faith by the Government – to renege on the promise not to fire more workers THIS year – exploded like a rotten egg, Minister of State Harmon went into damage control mode and claimed: “Wasn’t us in the Cabinet – we don’t know anything about it: “We’re surprised!”
Minister of Agriculture Holder promptly responded that maybe Harmon might be surprised but Cabinet couldn’t possibly be. If there was a State-paper that pronounced on the closures in GuySuCo, hadn’t it been discussed in Cabinet? But, this is just hair splitting, since in any case at least 7000 sugar workers will be fired with no new employment in sight.

There are some suggesting it’s a PNC vs AFC split, since “Harmon is PNC” and “Holder is AFC”. The former would now be the “kinder gentler” party since it’s Holder who jumped the gun on the firings. Don’t be fooled. As was revealed, Holder was never known to be “AFC” and in any case, was personally appointed by Granger.

The bottom line remains: the PNC is still putting profits ahead of sugar workers!

 …on tax

The EU just came up with list of 17 countries that are “blacklisted” for being “tax havens”. The list included four Caribbean countries – Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Now this goes to show you the level of hypocrisy that typifies the international system. We’ve had two scandals busted in the last few years – the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers and they clearly show that the EU, Britain and the US are the whales in the tax haven scams and the 17 countries identified are comparative minnows.

There are at least four EU members that should’ve been on that list – not to mention Britain and her dependencies and the US. Another 47 countries have been placed on a “greylist”, which included some other jurisdictions in the Caribbean that have been hit by hurricanes and have been given till next February to pull their socks up.

It’s just another case of different strokes for different folks, with the rich countries getting the softest stroke possible!

…on pensioners

Two years ago, the Minister of Social Services announced with great fanfare they’d cull foreign-based Guyanese from the list of persons eligible to collect pension. The money saved would boost local pensions.

What happened after the Minister was transferred?

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