If you wanted to create a tale to expose the callousness of the PNC to the sugar workers of this land, you wouldn’t think to conjure up the one just exposed in the pages of their own propaganda mouthpiece, the Chronic. Cringeworthy!! And what makes it more appalling is that it’s clear that they don’t even realise how tone deaf they are to what they let out of the bag.
It was a letter from the father of the sugar worker whose son had topped Region 6 at the NGSA – along with the daughter of another sugar worker. Their story had been well publicised in the media, since it was revealed that because of the Government firing 7000 sugar workers when they shut down 4 sugar estates – including Rose Hall where the father had worked – the parents couldn’t afford to send the kids to Queen’s, for which they’d qualified.
Several public-spirited citizens had risen to the occasion with offers to assist, but the Government announced they were awarding them “scholarships”. The Minister of Education got her photo op when she presented the kids with laptops. But what had been inadvertently exposed were the dire straits into which the fired sugar worker had been pushed by the PNC: the father had spent all his severance to start building a house, and there were barely funds to keep life and limb together, much less send the child to Queen’s.
Well, what the letter revealed was that the father has been led to believe that it was through the personal intervention of Finance Minister Jordan that the kids were awarded “scholarships!” Jordan was thanked so extravagantly you’d think that he was the “Jordan” of yore, about whom the slaves had sung: “Swing low sweet chariot,/Comin’ for to carry me home/I looked over Jordan and what did I see,/Comin’ for to carry me home/A band of angels comin’ after me,/ Comin’ for to carry me home”!!
Even more fulsomely thanked was the head of the SPU, Heath London – who’s supposed to sell off the shuttered estates so that fired workers could’ve been rehired; never mind that he’s completely forgotten about that. Seemed he got a watchman job for the father at Albion, and – listen to this – gave the families of the three top students a weekend at Watooka House in Linden! It tells a lot about the lot of a sugar worker when the father confessed: “We were blown away by the very high fantastic and very comfortable hotel”!
But what does the Government say to the 6999 other fired workers who remain “very depressed…and struggling severely due to the fact that finding employment was… challenging”.
Does Granger spare a thought about “the great and at times unbearable hardships that (fired sugar workers’) families (are) experiencing”? The father mentioned the family of one other top performer, Marissa: “While I am fortunate now to have a job like the father of Chitra, whose father is the only breadwinner in their home, Marissa is not this fortunate, as her mother is able to work only one and sometimes two or three days a week garnering fish glue, which is then used to provide food for her and her four children. I am aware that while Chitra’s family and I have smaller families, Marissa’s mother is saddled with four children, with one preparing for CXC this year, and a daily challenge of finding transportation money to send her children to school. It’s no secret that its worst for them.”
The clincher was: “We would have liked to thank Minister Jordan and Mr. Heath-London personally, as we are forever thankful for the genuine and sincere interest and assistance being entrusted in us; however, based on both their very busy schedules, we are cognizant that it may not be possible.”
Hence the letter! Imagine that!!
Your Eyewitness questions, however, who actually wrote this letter. If it’s the NGSA student’s father, surely he’s overqualified for that watchman’s job!!