The Government boasted that sugar workers have nothing to worry about their future, since some 70 companies have submitted bids for the four estates they’re closing down and selling off.
Really?? A number of questions come to your Eyewitness’s mind. The first one has to do with the Trinidadian expert the Government brought in to advise them on their “divestment”.
It was advice only people in this APNU/AFC government in general, and its Minister of Agriculture in particular, needed to be told. Anyone with even the slightest connection with sugar would’ve already taken that fact into consideration when the decision to close the estates was made: cane-cutters aren’t farmers!! And you can’t just snap your fingers or wave a wand — even while wearing a tu-tu — and make them into one!
Some might say Nagamootoo and Ramjattan should’ve known that fact when the Government blithely announced they would “lease” the land to the fired cane-cutters, who could then cultivate “cash crops”.
But Ramjattan comes from a rice village and Nagamootoo from a fishing one; even if they remembered anything from their childhood, it had nothing to do with sugar.
So back to the 70 companies who’ve lined up to take over the sugar estates. Will the Government insist they keep on with sugar production? Well, that would put them in an awkward position, wouldn’t it? If those companies could make it in sugar, why didn’t the Government continue in the business, and possibly hire one of those companies as advisors? Would’ve been far less traumatic for the workers, wouldn’t it?
But if the companies are going to enter other crops for the world market, the Trini knows that would involve a whole different skill set from the workers — which cane-cutters don’t have. These fellas are specialists whose work is so practised and fluid that to look at them is to look at the Bolshoi Ballet performing Swan Lake! To grab that stalk of cane at just the precise point of equilibrium, cut the bottom at just the right height from the ground (so it’ll sprout a new shoot), then swing the top, which is then lopped off in one unbroken movement, is a thing of beauty to behold. Ballet dancers can’t cultivate cash crops!
But the Government is just playing the fool. Most of the businesses indicating interest are like the Private Sector Commission — they want to use the land for housing or suchlike. Which would be tragic when we keep on hearing about the US$4Billion food bill of the Caricom bloc – and we would be putting the best drained and irrigated lands in the Caribbean into housing!
And cane-cutters on the breadlines!!
…of Ramjattan whistling in the dark
Back in the countryside where Ramjattan comes from, when they went out into the dark (say, to the outhouse!), they were so scared of “jumbies” they’d be whistling as loud as they could, hoping that would scare them away.
They knew the whistling didn’t do a damn thing, but they kept at it – hoping against hope. All it was, however, was to kid themselves that “everything would be okay”, and they wouldn’t mess themselves before they squatted in the outhouse!!
Ramjattan’s whistling in the dark when he keeps on insisting the e-mail revelations by the betrayed Canadian affiliate wouldn’t affect the AFC!! He knows, like his US Affiliate Chair said, their support base has evaporated like snow in hell after the revelation on Ramjattan and Trotman’s role in advising Prezzie on his unilateral choice.
They have no bargaining chip to negotiate with the PNC come 2020. To keep on enjoying their perks, they’ll have to continue being poodles to give the PNC a multi-ethnic fig-leaf.
A VERY small fig leaf!!
…new GECOM Commissioner
Prezzie didn’t consult his “partners” to select the GECOM Chair – who holds the “casting vote”. Now, after asking AFC for candidates to fill the vacant Opposition Commissioner’s seat, he decided to sideline them once again.
And they have no choice but to pull their tails between their legs and stay quiet!