Native informants were a staple of British colonial rule all across its empire, of which it boasted, “the sun never sets”. Well, the sun did set but the notion of the “native informant” – who would serve the colonial interest rather than their country’s – remained alive and well. Burnham, who supported the CIA to oust the PPP from office in 1964, was the epitome of the native informant.
But at a no less critical lower level, the species is also well-illustrated by the career of Errol Hanoman, most recently CEO of GUYSUCO. Chairman Clive Thomas announced he “chose” not to renew his contract at the end of last December- but we all know he suffered the fate of all native informants when their utility to the master is over – they’re dumped like used tissue filled with snot!!
Hanoman was a classic pencil pusher with Guysuco – in the mould of the glorified clerks Bookers was so adept at producing. When upon IMF’s insistence Desmond Hoyte brought in the British management team of Booker Tate in 1991 to manage the moribund sugar industry, Hanooman joined their team with alacrity. He was now working with REAL “massas”! He served them well- especially after they were bought out by a South African firm – but kept their name. He was now the ideal native informant – working for RACIST massas!
He was part of the Booker Tate team that supervised and passed the Skeldon factory – but when the team was finally fired in 2009, the PPP surprisingly made him CEO of Guysuco!! Obviously, they didn’t realise that being “Guyanese” doesn’t trump being a native informant – it’s actually a qualification, along for obsequiousness, for the job! Anyhow, the PPP wised up pretty quickly and threw him out on his ear the following year! It was no surprise he went home to Booker Tate.
And also it was no surprise when the PNC was returned to office via the APNU/AFC fig leaf, Hanoman was brought back as CEO. Contrary to the protestations of Nagamootoo and the asseverations of David “Too big to fail” Granger, the PNC always wanted to destroy sugar which gave their enemy the PPP their strongest muscle to flex, – sugar workers. And Hanoman was the perfect tool for the job – like a true native informant, he’d do whatever massa wanted.
And so it came to pass, Hanoman reprised Eric Williams famous quote: “Strange that an article like sugar, so sweet and necessary to human existence, should have occasioned such crimes and bloodshed.”
As one who facilitated the tragedy that has engulfed 5700 sugar workers and their families, Hanoman has blood on his hands.
Barbados was always famous for sending native informants to Guyana. Right after the abolition of slavery, tens of thousands of them came to Guyana and undercut the bargaining power of the freed slaves. They also went over in droves to Trinidad. Even since that time they earned a reputation for scampishness.
As illustrated in a calypso by Lord Kitchner, a Trini and a Bajan, both hungry, decide to scrounge together a cookup -with the Trini providing the meat and the Bajan the rice. But, “By this time the pot finish, Trini pick up a dish/ The Bajan say, “No no, no, never happen so!/ If you wanted something to eat, man take a fork and pick out your meat/But if you add one grain of rice, by Christ, I squeeze yuh throat like a vise”!!
Well, two Bajan lawyers, who wouldn’t have been caught dead practicing in Guyana, were hired by Basil Williams to help defend Granger’s unilateralism on the GECOM Chair. They had to be sworn in to our bar the day before their appearance! Why? Just like after the abolition of slavery, the Barbados economy has collapsed and pickings are few!!
Expect more native informants from Barbados undercutting our local lawyers!!