Eyewitness: Investigating…

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…GuySuCo’s culture

The new Minister of Agri delivered some “tough love” to GuySuCo managers while on a visit to the Berbice operations. He read them the riot act over their high-handed attitude to the workers who’re in the front line in this struggle to bring back the Corporation to viability. “Shape up” or “ship out” was his warning. This straight talk has been long overdue, but better late than never – especially since the Irfaan Ali Administration is staking their reputation (and a whole heap of money) on the turnaround.

But GuySuCo is no different from any of the institutions the Government runs in Guyana that were taken over from the “white man” – which included the sugar plantations. We have to remember that this country was founded on slave and indentured labourers being literally DRIVEN (by “drivers”) to perform their “tasks” on the sugar plantations’ fields and factories. These “drivers” are today “managers” and evidently, their motivating technique remains the whip. The incidents that were brought to the attention of the Minister are just the tip of the iceberg as to what’s going down on the sugar estates.

Take the perks of these managers that include free housing in the landscaped enclaves in which the “white man” had secluded themselves away from the great unwashed masses who laboured under their ministrations. They have cooks and gardeners and drivers to take their children to school – not to mention being able to commandeer any and all of the estates’ assets to their own use. They are veritable gods of all they survey. These fringe benefits serve to do one thing and one thing only – emphasis the social distance of the managers ABOVE the ordinary workers.

The point your Eyewitness is making then, is that if the Minister – and the Administration – ever hope to correct the high-handedness of the sugar managers and stop them from demotivating their workers, they’ll have to treat the managers just like private corporations treat theirs. While obviously highly paid, they’re rewarded for their skills and not provided with all the appurtenances of feudal lords to run roughshod over their serfs.

Sugar estates should be independently run as profit centres and the managers rewarded or penalised for their performances. The agricultural managers (who used to be the old “overseers”) must be forced to spend time ON A DAILY BASIS in the fields and not hang out in air-conditioned offices.

The factory managers especially must be reminded that most of the equipment that they complain aren’t functional had been kept going by welders and fitter-machinists for decades back in the days of the “white man”.

Workers not doing their jobs means managers aren’t doing theirs!!

 …the West Berbice Riots

Your Eyewitness is quite disappointed at the lack of progress towards solving the brutal murders of those three unfortunate youths in West Berbice. It’s very unfortunate that the crack crime sleuths who were supposed to’ve arrived from Argentina have been delayed by COVID-19. Now that our airports have reopened, we hope the authorities will confirm the date of their arrival and their deployment to the (unfortunately) now stale crime scene.

But your Eyewitness is just as disappointed that the promised international investigation into the riots that erupted in the wake of the murders also hasn’t been launched. Is it also a case of COVID-19 delay? Well, folks ought to be told. Justice has to be done for those poor lads, but so it must also be done  for the hundreds who were beaten, robbed, and assaulted, and had their vehicles and goods damaged.

Guyanese were given a tantalising hint from the RSS crime fighters’ report that a local politician asked relatives of the boys to lie.

This must also be investigated.

 …gruesome Grandma murder

It’s truly been said that “man is a wolf to man”. We saw this playing out in the brutal murder of an 86-year-old grandmother.

Her only crime was to try to fend for herself in her little shop.