Former President Donald Ramotar has chastised President David Granger for his recent reported comments that Government is not responsible for providing jobs for the people. According to Ramotar, “this is not just a slip of the tongue” but rather the position of the APNU/AFC administration.
The following is an article written by former President Donald Ramotar, which was sent to INews today for publication:
President David Granger, in one of his controlled ‘Meet the Press Programmes’, last week said that it was not the government’s role to provide jobs for the people.
This is not just a slip of the tongue; this is a position of the APNU+AFC regime.
Recall earlier the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder in response to rice farmers’ plea for assistance, said that the government had no responsibility to the farmers, that the rice Industry was privately owned.
All the actions of the regime would confirm that this is the belief of the regime. We cannot point to any project that has created employment and job creation.
Instead, the very opposite is true. The regime’s measures are impacting negatively on present employment.
The numerous taxes they have been enforced are discouraging business activities and curtailing employment. Things like licencing horse drawn carts and donkey carts, charging people walking and selling, among others, are just ridiculous and senseless.
The introduction of parking metres in the city will also have a negative impact on business. It could drive some businesses out of the city, while severely restricting the commercial activities of others. In the final analysis, these will impact on employment. People will be dismissed and or laid off their jobs.
The regime seems unconcerned about these effects just as long as it collects its “pound of flesh.”
Apart from these, this mentality by the regime has led them to destroying jobs and means of income for a large group of persons.
The pending closing of Wales Estate and the closure of operations at LBI will have a devastating impact on employment in the country. Thousands of persons will be thrown out of employment.
Immediately, it would be the workers directly involved in those areas. However, there are contractors and other businesses that provide (support) services to the industry that would also be affected.
Many self-employed persons in cash crop farming and small shop keepers in the villages will also be negatively impacted. They, too, would be thrown out of employment.
In passing, it is such types of activities that President Granger is recommending to create employment. The very ones that will suffer are suffering now. How is that for an example?
Scores of cane farmers and their hundreds of employees will also be cast on the breadlines to suffer when they become unemployed.
The government, too, will suffer. Taxes from workers will not be collected and reduced importation will impact on customs. The NIS collection will be reduced, while the pensionable persons will keep growing.
These things are not inevitable, as the regime is implying. There is another way – invest in the industry to increase its revenue stream so that it can quickly return to profitability and sustainability.
The regime speaks about how much it is giving now to the industry. This is nothing to what the sugar industry already gave to government of this country. Moreover, it can do even more with the investment needed. This is not subsidy, this is sensible business investment policies.
It is such investments that would create jobs and build a vibrant economy.
When we examine the regime’s attitude to the rice industry, we detect the same disinterest. This is the time to also add value to rice. With little investment, this industry can continue to make valuable contributions to our society.
Government spokespersons continue to talk about going into agriculture. They are encouraging young people to go in that direction.
However, if the two major agricultural products in this country – sugar and rice – are allowed to decline what young person would take the exhortations by the regime seriously?
Job creation calls for initiatives to be taken by the government, which will engender confidence and allow our country to grow. The regime is abdicating its responsibility in this area.
Action is needed now; talk is cheap.