Eyewitness: Rising… prices

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Way back in the day, alarm at the rising cost of living was expressed in the folk ditty down on the sugar estates: “Oh Maninja, Oh Maninja. Price a flour dear a’ shap; Wha’ yuh mean at-all?” The concern on the fate of the ordinary folks was directed to the Estate Manager (Maninja). The cry that “massa day done” after the abolition of slavery had been somewhat premature: the Manager remained the absolute master of all who lived on the estate up to independence!

Today, prices are skyrocketing again but the cries are directed at the government. They’ve replaced “Massa” in the minds of the people as to who can do something about it. The government responded that bottlenecks in shipping due to COVID 19 was one of the causes of both shortages and the rising prices, since their former invariably leads to the latter. The government immediately wiped off their duties on shipping charges – expecting the importers wouldn’t raise prices to that extent.

Has anyone been keeping their eyes on whether the importers haven’t pocketed the waived duties and make a further killing?? But for what it’s worth (and that’s plenty!) the prices weren’t affected a whit! Fuel prices have also shot up and the government has reduced its duties there also – without noticeable effect. As for local foods, their prices have also become inflated following shortages. We all know about the price of plantain, don’t we? The Govt responded by creating farmers’ markets where local fruits and vegetables could in effect be sold to consumers at wholesale prices. Still no effect overall! The markets were monthly and folks have this unfortunate habit of wanting to eat every day!!

But it’s not only the ordinary citizens who’re crying out – witness the rice farmers (the largest employers in the country) complaining that the prices of their paddy from the millers doesn’t even cover their costs. The millers retorted that world market prices dropped US$100/ton since this time last year and there’s nothing they can do about it. While the farmers have complained to the government, they haven’t been very specific as to what they want. In places like the US, there’s a floor price for agricultural commodities like rice. If the price on the market drops below this mark, the Government pays the farmers subsidies.

So what’s to be done? Sadly farmers have to understand – if not accept – that we’re living in a global economic regime where the market sets prices and most government interventions are prohibited by bodies like the WTO.
And consumers? They gotta tell the “Maninja” that salaries must keep apace of the increased!

Where are the unions? Isn’t that why they were formed and collect dues?

…apathy to PNC
Your Eyewitness had proposed that the leadership crisis in the PNC created a vacuum in the power relations in our society. Oppositions are vital in any democracy. And even more than Nature, power abhors a vacuum!! Also, it isn’t surprising that the PPP is making hay while the PNC imploded like a Death Star after their leadership elections!. They were poised to one-up the PPP by claiming they had a more democratic process of selecting their leaders and then KABOOM!!! The implosion created a Black Hole from which no information emanates!!

So the PPP’s been focusing on the youths from the PNC’s traditional constituency – while the fringe elements have been frantically trying to replay their narrative from the 1970s. That’s right from HALF A CENTURY AGO!!! It just ain’t getting no traction though! They want to get a piece of the oil action and it’s ancillary benefits here and now!!
By the time the leadership crisis is sorted out, “too late!” shall be the cry!!

…new war concerns

China has firmly rebuffed America’s request for them to intervene with Russia to call off its Ukraine war. They just reiterated Russia’s “concerns” and advised negotiations!
Like Maduro, Xi’s hands have now been strengthened.