…of PNC’s hate politics
We really didn’t need this International Labour Organisation (ILO) report on the consequences of the APNU closing down those four sugar estates, did we? What’s the economic and social reality in even the best of times? Is it coincidental that rum drinking, suicide, interpersonal – especially domestic – violence and poverty are endemic there? Sugar labour is one of unremitting brutality on the body and the mind. And for what? Slave wages during the less-than-half the year the factories are “grinding” – and then languishing for “casual labour” in the “off crop”?
We’ve all come from the cane fields – save the Indigenous Peoples, who escaped into the interior forests, where they’d coexisted for millennia. But most distance themselves from that site of degradation. Out of sight…out of mind! Nobody even deigns to write novels on “sugar life” for others to experience the misery vicariously. Maybe DH Lawrence’s accounts of Welsh coal miners’ lives a century ago may offer a glimpse of what a life of unremitting and degrading labour can do to the soul.
And then – barely a year after they got into office – the PNC went and fired 7000 sugar workers and not expect that all of the above-mentioned pathologies in the sugar belt won’t go through the roof? Ha! Anyhow, while the ILO study isn’t a work of literary realism, it does give a barebones, terse, laconic summary of the tragedy that unfolded in those lives of perpetual and quiet desperation. “The sugar closings severely compromised the livelihoods of the laid-off workers, leading to increased instances of suicide, alcohol consumption and crime.”
What else was going to happen when those sugar estates were the sole source of employment for the villages surrounding them – especially at Rose Hall in the Canje Creek of Berbice? The wages from the workers – pitiable as they were – drove whatever ancillary village economic activities there were, like retailing groceries or tailoring etc. But the PNC knew all this – so we can only conclude that this is just what they wanted to happen. In Guyana, it’s trite to remark that “everything is politics”. And the shuttering of those four sugar estates was certainly not economics! The PNC’s own COI had told them what to do about the challenges in the industry. And it certainly wasn’t closure!
But the ILO Report isn’t just descriptive of the privations of the fired sugar workers: they pointed out the need for the employer – ultimately the Government – to provide a “sustainable livelihood” for them. Your Eyewitness had suggested to the then PNC Government to implement the same $2.6B Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development” (READ) Project they unfurled in six African-Guyanese villages while they were shuttering sugar factories.
What says the PPP?
…of Burnham’s “sharper steel”
Earlier in the week, your Eyewitness had suggested that the Government officially release the Report of the COI into Walter Rodney’s assassination by the PNC. The COI had been summarily terminated by the PNC Government when they slid into office in 2015, and was quickly deep-sized! Could it be that Granger didn’t like the Report’s conclusion: that Burnham, at the barest minimum, knew about the assassination plan? Well, he actually rejected the Report as being “flawed” and based on “hearsay”! Well, as the Head of the GDF at the time, maybe he has contra evidence about Gregory Smith?
Anyhow, upon a request by the family of the great historian and martyr, the PPP have gone a step further. They’ll expunge from the public records all the lies and distortions the PNC had introduced after fake investigations and inquests into the assassination. Like that Rodney’s death was by “misadventure”! That’s tantamount to claiming that the Titanic was sunk by an ice cube!!
May Rodney now RIP.
…of COVID-19 ignorance
Maybe you can’t blame folks for being ignorant, ‘cause they don’t know the facts on COVID-19. But what about those who actively distort the facts – like claiming that vaccines will cause infertility?