…to spite PPP’s (sugar) face
With every passing day, the PNC’s vindictive nature is exposed with their no-holds-barred efforts to destroy the PPP’s electoral base. Back in the day when the PNC of Burnham had discriminated against PPP supporters at every step of the way in the new co-operative dispensation of 80% of the economy being nationalised, Jagan had accused the PNC of “racial discrimination”. Burnham laughed and said, “it’s just political, comrade!”
Once again, the PNC’s moves in the sugar belt – the bastion of the PPP’s strength – may be “political”, but because of the ethno-racial nature of Guyana’s politics, its actions generate that frisson of racialism that can quickly get out of hand. As we’ve seen at so many conjunctures in our history. Take the abrupt and unilateral closure of four sugar estates throwing 7000 workers into the streets with no hope of securing alternative employment.
Every Guyanese knows the “sugar belt” is a trope for PPP’s mainly Indian Guyanese support. Why did the PNC make that move, even though during the campaign, upon the pleadings of its AFC partner, Granger’d promised he’s wouldn’t follow through on his prior declaration that sugar had to go? It instituted a COI – including the PNC-appointed Chairman of Guysuco, Clive Thomas, to advise on the way forward. It recommended that the industry be subsidised for another three years and brought to a point of sale to private interests.
Granger however, ignored the COI’s recommendations and did what they always wanted to do: destroy the PPP’s base. After all, contrary what they’d have us believe, it was NOT an ECONOMIC decision as unfolding events have shown. The government has now confessed they have to go back to the drawing board on selling the closed estates – they’re too run down to fetch the prices the high-priced Valuation team of Price Waterhouse set.
And that’s exactly why the COI recommended that the estates be fixed up in three years!! Yet the PNC shut down their operations and allowed the fields to revert to bush, and the factories to scrap metal. Of what value is that?? But the pathetically sad thing is the government is forking out more money than the subsidies recommended by the COI!! The SPU, formed to do the selling off, floated a $30Billion bond for which they have to pay $1.6 billion every year in interest!! Plus, with the D&I picking up the slack for draining the inhabited frontlands of the closed estates – another $3billion annually!!
And let’s not even talk about the lost foreign revenues from sugar sales and its multiplier effect on the economy!!
And here we thought vengeance was only the Lord’s!! Kill Bill? Naah…Kill PPP!
Well, how dare the US State Department issue an advisory to their citizens to be careful in Guyana if visiting since, “Violent crimes such as armed robbery and murder is common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents”?? Where do they get off to put out such fake news?? Our Government’s spokesperson – who ironically is a US citizen – brushed off that assertion and declared huffily, “Guyana is a safe place to live, it’s a safe place to work, it’s a safe place to invest”!!
But surely he doesn’t think it’s an ABC conspiracy against the PNC government, since the British and Canadians had issues identical advisories last year and they didn’t need him to point out: “Every time an advisory comes out, people think twice about travelling to your country [and] they think twice about investing.” Why not just agree with the Americans and ask for more resources??
Or does he think the recent Police killings of bandits in Berbice and Georgetown have solved the crime problem?
Wild West justice?
…on signing bonus
After playing ducks and drakes for three years, the PNC government finally transferred the US$18m bonus they received from Exxon for being granted a production agreement to the Consolidated Funds.
Thank god for whistleblowers!!