…sweetness in sugar?
The Sanctimonious Gangster Granger vindictively shut down four of the seven sugar estates in a blatant and contemptuous attempt to destroy what he felt was a PPP core constituency. 7000 workers were thrown onto the breadline between those directly employed by GuySuCo and the private cane farmers. But Granger had miscalculated – as usual. He didn’t realise – or chose to ignore – that fully one-third of the sugar workers from Wales (and also the major block of cane farmers)
were from his African-Guyanese core constituency! Collateral damage?
As promised, the new PPP Irfaan Ali Administration reopened the shuttered estates (except Wales) the moment the Sanctimonious Gangster finally was forced to demit office – under protest. Wales is slated to be the centre of a gas-to-shore power generation and industrial complex. Apart from rebuilding the Ogle Senior Staff Compound as a luxurious party HQ for “the boys and girls”, the PNC had allowed the four estates to literally revert to “the bush”.
After bemoaning the closures for over four years, and promising their reversal, the Govt had assembled a team to execute its policies, and hit the ground running. But no one expected bringing them back operationally was going to be a cakewalk. So, it was somewhat surprising that, instead of getting regular briefings as to what was being rectified, we were regaled recently by the manager picked for fixing the most critical estate, Skeldon, about management differences. The fella quit in protest. Not a good omen.
However, it was different for the “grinding” estates. There, folks expected immediate improvements – which unfortunately weren’t forthcoming by the end of the last crop. All the usual excuses were trotted out – rain, mud in the cane, factory downtime, etc. But since none of these was new, the question is: Why weren’t they successfully dealt with? For instance, since mud in the cane causes serious problems downstream, why was loading with mechanical Bell Loaders encouraged when they’ll inevitably scoop up mud when picking up the “cut and drop” cane after the rain had soaked the soil? And not to mention: compacting the latter and uprooting cane stumps for the next crop! And yet the revised low target wasn’t reached. We’ve been told that the target for this year is 97,000 tons for the three estates. That’s way below their historical levels, and we hope there won’t be more excuses in December 2021. There’s now an emphasis on selling packaged brown sugar. That’s a positive move, since there should be a greater profit margin from the value-added. But whatever happened to the “Plantation White” facility that was supposed to satisfy Caricom’s white sugar needs? Isn’t that more profitable also?
On the back burner?
Gandhi, who knew a thing or two about political mobilisation, once said, “No one can ride on the back of a man, unless it is bent”. This thought popped into your Eyewitness’s head as he reflected on the PNC moving “Parliament” into the cesspool in front of the Stabroek “Big” Market. What exactly do they think of the intelligence of their supporters?
But, more pertinently, why are the PNC supporters putting up with this abysmal, failed, banal leadership riding on their backs? Were they comfortable with Granger becoming leader via a rigged party Congress “election” that was effectively a one-man (Corbin) selection? Were they comfortable with being made the laughing stock of our Caricom family for insisting that “33 isn’t greater than 32”? Were they comfortable with the PNC never showing their SOPs yet insisting they won the elections? Didn’t it bother them that the PNC Ministers took a 50% pay raise as soon as they slid into office – to keep them away from “temptation” – yet were accepting millions of dollars of bling?
Why keep bending their backs?
The head of Barbados COVID Unit has cautioned that people who’re allergic to ingredients of AstraZeneca and those with severe allergies won’t be vaccinated.
How about us?