Kwayana, Andaiye, Bhagwan hammer gov’t on dismissal of thousands of sugar workers.

January 9,2018

Source

Three foundation members of the WPA and prominent Guyanese: Eusi Kwayana, Andaiye and Moses Bhagwan have condemned the APNU+AFC government over the sacking of thousands of sugar workers without a plan for their future and warned that the administration is doomed to failure like its predecessors if it doesn’t recognize its “wrong turns”.

Writing in the `In the Diaspora’ column in yesterday’s Stabroek News, the trio also rapped the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), the party they have been identified with for decades, and which is part of the governing APNU+AFC coalition.

Noting that the establishment of the coalition promised changes in several major areas of national life, the three said that as foundation members of the WPA they have watched from the sidelines and with growing unease as the government “committed error after error”.

Some of these errors, they said, might have been attributable to the newness of the administration or the usual difficulties of a coalition government but that they were shocked beyond belief recently when severance notices were handed out to hundreds of sugar workers at the start of the Christmas season, without a plan regarding the future of the workers, their families, their communities, and the wider economy of the country.

“This disastrous decision cannot be explained away with reference to inexperience. It is callous, foolish, ill-advised and economically unfeasible. The economy of Guyana has revolved around sugar since 1815, when the decision was taken to create a one crop economy. In that vein, the diversity that enslaved Africans had introduced through the cultivation of provision grounds came under attack. Some normalcy was restored to the people’s economy through valiant struggles in the 1840s after the abolition of slavery when the village movement was formed. Over the long and protracted history of the second half of the 19th century, these villages supported the everyday existence of the mainly East Indian indentured sugar working communities. The wages from sugar workers resident in Indian and African villages was important to the survival of all the villages. The structure of economic and social relations in rural coastal Guyana is related to the integration of these two communities. For two hundred years, the wages paid to Indian and African workers on the sugar estates have helped in no small manner to sustain and bring vibrancy to every other industry and enterprise in Guyana, including the ice seller, the flutie producer, the hairdresser, the farmer, the haberdasher, the mechanic, the fisherman. This decision to shut down sugar is being taken as if it does not strike at the heart of the household and community economies of both those directly engaged in sugar production and those for whom there are ripple effects. This decision will affect every political constituency in the country. It will even affect the viability of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS)”, the trio contended.

They argued that the mass dismissals disrupt the micro economy of the working people, and are already affecting major sections of the country.

“We believe that Cabinet is duty bound to explain in plain language when the decision to issue severance letters was taken, when the decision to implement the decision to hand out severance letters by Guysuco became government policy, what were the consultations and deliberations and with whom, what alternatives were discussed, why Cabinet did not consider a more reasonable phased approach, why for instance proposals from citizens’ groups such as the National Farmers Organization for managed diversification were not given any attention and due consideration. Cabinet should also tell the public how much of the yearly subsidy was used to pay super salaries of Guysuco officials”, the trio asserted.

Their criticisms will be seen as even more damaging to the WPA whose co-leader Dr Clive Thomas is the current Chairman of Guysuco and is clearly backing the retrenchments.

Kwayana, Andaiye and Bhagwan said that the problems of the sugar industry are not new. They pointed out that as early as 1990 then President Desmond Hoyte had raised concerns about its future and had intimated the need for national consensus on the way forward for sugar. They said that this mostly fell on deaf ears, except for the WPA which made its position clear at the time. The WPA position then was that divestment of the industry should not mean and must not entail disposal of the sugar lands.  In 1990, they noted that Booker Tate was invited by Hoyte to manage the industry on a management contract, an arrangement that came to an end in 2009. From that point a new Guysuco management board was reinstated. The trio said that the current government owes the people of the country an explanation for why it maintained the structure of a top-heavy management board, “even now as thousands of sugar workers, who have known nothing but sugar, are being sent home with no viable plan for their future”.

In light of the tragic news of two reported suicides by sugar workers since the layoffs, and to lessen despondency among sugar working families, the trio said that it is well past the time for the government to fully explain its plans for the industry going forward.

“What plans, if any, are in place to meaningfully involve people in the communities in figuring out the future of sugar, the sugar lands, and the sugar assets?  The time is never too late to change course. Government is serious business”, they said.

“As a country we can do better.  The certainty that we could do better was the reason for the formation of the Working Peoples Alliance in 1974, and to see a government which includes the WPA falter on the most basic of ideals, gives us cause to pause and question. We think it necessary to remind our colleagues from the WPA in the government, that for decades our slogan was “BREAD AND JUSTICE.” Further, when the Economic Recovery Program (ERP) was put in place in 1989, the WPA called for investment in the people.  It was not for nothing that the people renamed the ERP the Empty Rice Pot. Today, the government is following through on the approach of its predecessor, and is investing in the top .5% of the population to the detriment of the people”, Kwayana, Andaiye and Bhagwan lamented.

They drew the attention of the government to its own Manifesto for the 2015 elections, where they noted it committed to “establish and entrench an inclusionary democracy through the appointment of a Government of National Unity which would create opportunities for the participation of citizens and their organisations in the management and decision-making processes of the state, with particular emphasis on the areas of decision-making that affect their well-being.” We ask the government, were these empty promises?” they questioned.

“We say now, and we say boldly, if this government does not recognise the wrong turns it has made, if it does not change course, if it does not embrace and lift up those most downtrodden among the population, it is doomed to failure like its predecessors”, they warned..

Original Post
Django posted:

r@ss banna,that was quick reading.

For two hundred years, the wages paid to Indian and African workers on the sugar estates have helped in no small manner to sustain and bring vibrancy to every other industry and enterprise in Guyana, including the ice seller, the flutie producer, the hairdresser, the farmer, the haberdasher, the mechanic, the fisherman.

Django, this trickle-down punishment to innocent hard working Guyanese. 

skeldon_man posted:
Django posted:

r@ss banna,that was quick reading.

For two hundred years, the wages paid to Indian and African workers on the sugar estates have helped in no small manner to sustain and bring vibrancy to every other industry and enterprise in Guyana, including the ice seller, the flutie producer, the hairdresser, the farmer, the haberdasher, the mechanic, the fisherman.

Django, this trickle-down punishment to innocent hard working Guyanese. 

Poorly planned or maybe that was the intended result from the start. Now I know Vish is going to say I am living in the past but why was this not addressed before instead of lying and subsidizing sugar? Now those people are without jobs and means to support their families. My suggestion would have been to allow them to farm the land. They don't necessarily have to be given ownership. Just allotted parcels of land.

GTAngler posted:
skeldon_man posted:
Django posted:

r@ss banna,that was quick reading.

For two hundred years, the wages paid to Indian and African workers on the sugar estates have helped in no small manner to sustain and bring vibrancy to every other industry and enterprise in Guyana, including the ice seller, the flutie producer, the hairdresser, the farmer, the haberdasher, the mechanic, the fisherman.

Django, this trickle-down punishment to innocent hard working Guyanese. 

Poorly planned or maybe that was the intended result from the start. Now I know Vish is going to say I am living in the past but why was this not addressed before instead of lying and subsidizing sugar? Now those people are without jobs and means to support their families. My suggestion would have been to allow them to farm the land. They don't necessarily have to be given ownership. Just allotted parcels of land.

Farming the land would be a good idea, but ownership of the land should also be considered because ownership provides a greater motivation to work the land and provide a greater profit motive. 

I don’t disagree that the PPP should have done more and should have had the hindsight to address the problem many years ago....nobody wants to be a generational cane cutter all their lives. I fault the PPP for not providing training and education to prepare these people for the 21st century....equally to be blamed is the current government whose callousness is highlighted by these letter writers.

skeldon_man posted:
Django posted:

r@ss banna,that was quick reading.

For two hundred years, the wages paid to Indian and African workers on the sugar estates have helped in no small manner to sustain and bring vibrancy to every other industry and enterprise in Guyana, including the ice seller, the flutie producer, the hairdresser, the farmer, the haberdasher, the mechanic, the fisherman.

Django, this trickle-down punishment to innocent hard working Guyanese. 

Bhai,i am aware of trickle down,blame is on the shoulders of Jagdeo,US$200 million spend on the white elephant at Skeldon plus bail outs,he was hoping to keep the Berbician East Indians in the cane fields instead of spending the money to get them away from that back breaking work.

This government is no better,in a haste they closed the Estates without providing alternatives for the affected workers.They will ride it out and hopefully they will learn not to trust the crooked,self serving politicians.

Nehru posted:
Riff posted:

PPP preferred to see the sugar workers stay the way they were....easy votes that way

Does that make any sense??  How are you going to get Votes by starving people? Is the Sophia Univ Ed at work here Riffy???

Absolutely does make sense. Keep them uneducated and dependent on Sugar. It's the edumacated coolies who are questioning the PPP policies and who have turned away from the party. Of course there are those who claim to be educated but refuse to see the truth whether it's racism or blind loyalty.

Nehru posted:

HAHAHa FILTH HEADS rather be enslaved at Hope Estate. I believe in the freedom to choose whatever.):0;

That's all you get from what I wrote? Did I say anything about Hope Estate and by inference Burnham? People should be allowed to choose but they should not be kept down and lied to.

Django posted:

Bhai,i am aware of trickle down,blame is on the shoulders of Jagdeo,US$200 million spend on the white elephant at Skeldon plus bail outs,he was hoping to keep the Berbician East Indians in the cane fields instead of spending the money to get them away from that back breaking work.

This government is no better,in a haste they closed the Estates without providing alternatives for the affected workers.They will ride it out and hopefully they will learn not to trust the crooked,self serving politicians.

It wasn't a sole decision by Jagdeo. Ramjattan, Nagamootoo and the PNC all went along with the Skeldon plant plan. 

Nehru posted:
Riff posted:

PPP preferred to see the sugar workers stay the way they were....easy votes that way

Does that make any sense??  How are you going to get Votes by starving people? Is the Sophia Univ Ed at work here Riffy???

Who was starving while working in the cane fields?

 

Drugb posted:
Django posted:

Bhai,i am aware of trickle down,blame is on the shoulders of Jagdeo,US$200 million spend on the white elephant at Skeldon plus bail outs,he was hoping to keep the Berbician East Indians in the cane fields instead of spending the money to get them away from that back breaking work.

This government is no better,in a haste they closed the Estates without providing alternatives for the affected workers.They will ride it out and hopefully they will learn not to trust the crooked,self serving politicians.

It wasn't a sole decision by Jagdeo. Ramjattan, Nagamootoo and the PNC all went along with the Skeldon plant plan. 

Obviously none of them knew what they were doing...since Jagdeo was the head man, he gets the brunt of the blame

Django posted:
skeldon_man posted:
Django posted:

r@ss banna,that was quick reading.

For two hundred years, the wages paid to Indian and African workers on the sugar estates have helped in no small manner to sustain and bring vibrancy to every other industry and enterprise in Guyana, including the ice seller, the flutie producer, the hairdresser, the farmer, the haberdasher, the mechanic, the fisherman.

Django, this trickle-down punishment to innocent hard working Guyanese. 

Bhai,i am aware of trickle down,blame is on the shoulders of Jagdeo,US$200 million spend on the white elephant at Skeldon plus bail outs,he was hoping to keep the Berbician East Indians in the cane fields instead of spending the money to get them away from that back breaking work.

This government is no better,in a haste they closed the Estates without providing alternatives for the affected workers.They will ride it out and hopefully they will learn not to trust the crooked,self serving politicians.

Skeldon Sugar Estate was in poor condition. It needed lots of work. I don't know if they needed to spend $200mil. I suppose those old factories with old machinery would have been a problem eventually.

Its this simple. Rose Hall had production costs of 60c (US) and world prices are 15c.   With the end of the EU guaranteed access and guaranteed prices the whole environment for sugar ended.

These are old time communists who don't understand how economies work and that talking about an era where there were guaranteed prices and markets TO PROTECT BOOKERS A UK COMPANY is irrelevant!

In a land where government services are inadequate and infrastructure is weak where is the money to come from.  The gov't's focus ought to be on positioning the labor force ro compete for 21st century jobs and to provide incentives for these jobs to exist.

Sugar is a 19th century job and the fact that these kindly folks have to go way back then to justify its existence is evidence.  Should we also suggest that jobs driving dray carts also be preserved!

The PPP had 23 years to transform sugar and elected not to do so.  They left a company so moribund that it struggled to meet payroll!  Labor costs EXCEEDED Guysuco's revenues!

Since the end of preferential access the PPP should have been working with DDL to transform the industry into one which provided molasses and other materials for local and CARICOM markets, and released excess labor into other forms of agriculture.

The PPP did NOT do so and so now we have this problem!

These are old time communists who don't understand how economies work and that talking about an era where there were guaranteed prices and markets TO PROTECT BOOKERS A UK COMPANY is irrelevant!

You should be preaching this to the farmers in the midwest. Does the American government subsidize the dairy farmers, the sugar beet farmers, the wheat and soy beans farmers, Exxon.....?
Your argument is irrelevant. If it was your black brothers, you would have been singing a different tune.

GTAngler posted:
Nehru posted:
Riff posted:

PPP preferred to see the sugar workers stay the way they were....easy votes that way

Does that make any sense??  How are you going to get Votes by starving people? Is the Sophia Univ Ed at work here Riffy???

Absolutely does make sense. Keep them uneducated and dependent on Sugar. It's the edumacated coolies who are questioning the PPP policies and who have turned away from the party. Of course there are those who claim to be educated but refuse to see the truth whether it's racism or blind loyalty.

Here's something for us to consider. At any time past present or future, in any school or classroom, there are always brilliant students and under-achievers aka dunces.

In Albouystown, a dunce who "graduates" from primary school naturally gravitates to that geographical area's Choke-and-Rob Industry which fits his educational level.

In Uitvlugt, a low-achiever who graduates from school naturally gravitates to that geographical area's Sugar Industry which fits his educational level.

NOTHING TO DO WITH PNC OR PPP. 

So, in my view, it's unfair to blame the PPP for keeping people shackled to sugar estates. I don't know of a single case where the PPP has advised sugar workers to limit their or their children's education or to avoid seeking employment in other sectors of the economy.

Gilbakka posted:
GTAngler posted:
Nehru posted:
Riff posted:

PPP preferred to see the sugar workers stay the way they were....easy votes that way

Does that make any sense??  How are you going to get Votes by starving people? Is the Sophia Univ Ed at work here Riffy???

Absolutely does make sense. Keep them uneducated and dependent on Sugar. It's the edumacated coolies who are questioning the PPP policies and who have turned away from the party. Of course there are those who claim to be educated but refuse to see the truth whether it's racism or blind loyalty.

Here's something for us to consider. At any time past present or future, in any school or classroom, there are always brilliant students and under-achievers aka dunces.

In Albouystown, a dunce who "graduates" from primary school naturally gravitates to that geographical area's Choke-and-Rob Industry which fits his educational level.

In Uitvlugt, a low-achiever who graduates from school naturally gravitates to that geographical area's Sugar Industry which fits his educational level.

NOTHING TO DO WITH PNC OR PPP. 

So, in my view, it's unfair to blame the PPP for keeping people shackled to sugar estates. I don't know of a single case where the PPP has advised sugar workers to limit their or their children's education or to avoid seeking employment in other sectors of the economy.

Moses Nagamootoo said that Jagdeo never wanted to elevate the cane-cutters from out of the field. I agree with Moses 100%. I always stressed that the sugar industries should be modernized and give the cane-cutters chance to elevate themselves. The jest of the story is: A born cane-cutter shouldn't die as a cane-cutter. 

Prince posted:
Gilbakka posted:
GTAngler posted:
Nehru posted:
Riff posted:

PPP preferred to see the sugar workers stay the way they were....easy votes that way

Does that make any sense??  How are you going to get Votes by starving people? Is the Sophia Univ Ed at work here Riffy???

Absolutely does make sense. Keep them uneducated and dependent on Sugar. It's the edumacated coolies who are questioning the PPP policies and who have turned away from the party. Of course there are those who claim to be educated but refuse to see the truth whether it's racism or blind loyalty.

Here's something for us to consider. At any time past present or future, in any school or classroom, there are always brilliant students and under-achievers aka dunces.

In Albouystown, a dunce who "graduates" from primary school naturally gravitates to that geographical area's Choke-and-Rob Industry which fits his educational level.

In Uitvlugt, a low-achiever who graduates from school naturally gravitates to that geographical area's Sugar Industry which fits his educational level.

NOTHING TO DO WITH PNC OR PPP. 

So, in my view, it's unfair to blame the PPP for keeping people shackled to sugar estates. I don't know of a single case where the PPP has advised sugar workers to limit their or their children's education or to avoid seeking employment in other sectors of the economy.

Moses Nagamootoo said that Jagdeo never wanted to elevate the cane-cutters from out of the field. I agree with Moses 100%. I always stressed that the sugar industries should be modernized and give the cane-cutters chance to elevate themselves. The jest of the story is: A born cane-cutter shouldn't die as a cane-cutter. 

Oh skoant Prince, Shut you mouth. Did modernization work for Skeldon factory according to you? You blamed BJ for the modernization now you preach modernization. Gwan you rass dah side

Prince posted:
 

I always stressed that the sugar industries should be modernized and give the cane-cutters chance to elevate themselves. The jest of the story is: A born cane-cutter shouldn't die as a cane-cutter. 

Burnham could have mechanized/modernized cane harvesting but he didn't. Hoyte didn't modernize either. Jagan, Jagdeo and Ramotar didn't modernize either. Granger not mechanizing cane harvesting at the remaining estates either. For many decades Bookers and other Sugar Barons could have mechanized the canefields too. This is a systemic problem deeply entrenched. 

If you look at the Miami Cubans cane fields in America and overseas. They are all mechanized and they have few people working the fields and these people don't have good working conditions. So mechanized canefields only bring cheaper sugar. But it does not employ many people.

skeldon_man posted:

These are old time communists who don't understand how economies work and that talking about an era where there were guaranteed prices and markets TO PROTECT BOOKERS A UK COMPANY is irrelevant!

You should be preaching this to the farmers in the midwest. Does the American government subsidize the dairy farmers, the sugar beet farmers, the wheat and soy beans farmers, Exxon.....?
Your argument is irrelevant. If it was your black brothers, you would have been singing a different tune.

If you knew more about farm subsidies in the USA you would know that it is in fact crony capitalism. Poor farmers in the USA are being driven off their farms daily.  Subsidies go to the RICH farmers.

You sang black man lazy and ungrateful when the plight of Linden is discussed.  Of course I know that your racist nature and your hatred of blacks means that in your head they are less worthy so how Jagdeo treated them is perfectly fine with you.  80% of them lost their jobs and they had to survive based on their own devices.

The PPP destroyed Guysuco.  Blame the PPP for the mess that they created.

Prashad posted:

If you look at the Miami Cubans cane fields in America and overseas. They are all mechanized and they have few people working the fields and these people don't have good working conditions. So mechanized canefields only bring cheaper sugar. But it does not employ many people.

Yes an example of wealthy farmers who receive tax payer funded subsidies as well as a trade policy which makes importing cheap sugar difficult. And it is NOT to protect "poor" farmers or sugar workers either.

caribny posted:
skeldon_man posted:

These are old time communists who don't understand how economies work and that talking about an era where there were guaranteed prices and markets TO PROTECT BOOKERS A UK COMPANY is irrelevant!

You should be preaching this to the farmers in the midwest. Does the American government subsidize the dairy farmers, the sugar beet farmers, the wheat and soy beans farmers, Exxon.....?
Your argument is irrelevant. If it was your black brothers, you would have been singing a different tune.

If you knew more about farm subsidies in the USA you would know that it is in fact crony capitalism. Poor farmers in the USA are being driven off their farms daily.  Subsidies go to the RICH farmers.

You sang black man lazy and ungrateful when the plight of Linden is discussed.  Of course I know that your racist nature and your hatred of blacks means that in your head they are less worthy so how Jagdeo treated them is perfectly fine with you.  80% of them lost their jobs and they had to survive based on their own devices.

The PPP destroyed Guysuco.  Blame the PPP for the mess that they created.

Guyana is not America. Let's address the plight of the sugar workers. Trying to derail this thread by calling me a racist is futile. You see yourself as a Guyanese Robert Mugabe/Idi Amin.

Add Reply

Likes (0)

×
×
×
×
×