EYEWITNESS: Starting 2018…

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…lying to sugar workers

You just know it’s going to be the ‘same ole, same ole’ when in his New Year’s message, Nagamootoo says this about 2017: “Above all, Guyana has been spared the plight of dire poverty, destitution and want.” Your Eyewitness wonders what the 5700 sugar workers, who’d been living from “hand to mouth” to begin with, but were fired in 2017, think about that!!

Who does Nagamootoo think he’s fooling? But then, the better question might be “Does Nagamootoo, Granger or any other member of this Government care whether sugar workers believe anything they say?” Sugar workers, after all, aren’t just collateral damage in the matter of “war by other means” that defines our politics. Sugar workers were the shock troops and the backbone of the PPP even before there was a PPP in 1947!.

With sugar being the anchor of the economy from its inception, Jagan’s and the PPP’s control of sugar workers gave them a strategic weapon after WWII against first, the colonial British and then the Dictator Burnham. Where did Jagan vow to end colonialism? At murdered sugar workers’ funerals. Who did he turn to when the British and Americans worked to remove him? Sugar workers in a historic (and bloody) strike. Ditto to the PNC after Burnham nationalised the industry and PPP were neutralised politically by his rigging elections.

Granger is the successor to Burnham as the leader of the PNC and has given a public commitment to complete the dictator’s legacy. A big chunk of that legacy was to destroy the PPP as a political force – a goal that involved as much personal issues as political ones.

Granger has done what Burnham was not able to do – break the strongest arrow in the PPP’s quiver. If anyone thinks sugar workers will have any political clout henceforth via strikes, they have another thing coming. As your Eyewitness has been saying, they can march up and down in the sun over in Canje all they want. Doesn’t matter a whit to the PNC – including Nagamootoo and the AFC that has hitched their fortunes to that wagon.

Not many persons have analysed what will be the effect on the PPP now that they’re bereft of any means of exerting effective pressure on its political Opposition – which just happens to be the Government that decides who gets what, when and how. With oil in the offing, the Government will decide who gets whatever benefits flow Guyana’s way.

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out we’re heading back to the days when it took a “party card” to get a job.

And even then, you might have to be a “born PNC”!

…oil money

The IMF says Trotman gave away our Black Gold – and we know, notwithstanding his rotund belly and visage, Trotman’s no Santa! There had to’ve been some hanky-panky going on under the table. But who’ll bell that cat?? The IMF just issues these reports…it doesn’t take any action against transgressors. Sovereignty and all that – excepting when you owe the IMF!!

For instance, a 2011 IMF audit revealed $32 billion disappeared from Angola’s official accounts between 2007 and 2010, a quarter of the State’s income – 90 per cent of which comes from oil. It took massive internal pressures from local civil society activists for the Angolan Government to introduce some transparency reforms afterwards. And not before several were thrown into jail.

Angola is Africa’s largest exporter of oil…but its GDP didn’t grow in 2016. Attempting to wrest more revenues through tax revision, Angola just had to give up since the contracts couldn’t be changed!
Sounds similar with the infinite tax holidays Trotman gave Exxon? So what will you do ‘bout it?

…waiting to exhale

With the Venezuelans still playing hardball on its border controversy over the Essequibo, your Eyewitness expected that the UN Secretary General would’ve kept his word and sent the matter to the World Court.
Too much New Year spirits?

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