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It’s hard not to connect the dots

first_imgDear Editor,The January 6, 2020 edition of Guyana Times quoted the coalition’s Prime Minister hopeful Mr Khemraj Ramjattan, we must emphasise ‘hopeful’ given no mention of his hopeful title has been officially announced, to have said at the January 3 campaign launch activity that “[w]e want to wane the next generation away from cane cutting…”. It appears to us that the ‘hopeful’ Mr Ramjattan really is a very confused person, willing to step down to the lowest of lows in order to safeguard his perks and privileges.So apparently, Mr Ramjattan, in offering a justification for the coalition’s justification for its cruel and heartless treatment of the sugar industry and the thousands who depend on it, said he and his colleagues want to bring an end to cane cutting in this country. While it is known that cane cutting tasks are generally one of the more demanding and back-breaking jobs in our nation, it allowed many families to be able to put meals on the table, put a roof over their head and allowed their children to go on to reach for the stars. Many prominent Guyanese have roots in their sugar industry. Their academic accomplishments were on the backs of their parents, grandparents and other relatives whose work in the industry supported their pursuits. Their work and efforts should not be demeaned but celebrated and are a sterling example of hard work and perseverance.But it appears, in Mr Ramjattan’s mind, an end to cane cutting really means that those who engage in such tasks should be put out of jobs and placed on the breadline without anything to do. As this is what has happened. Certainly, any Government, any leader, or even any ‘hopeful, worth their salt, would not fathom such an approach. But then Mr Ramjattan and company are not known for their contemporary and rationale approaches to issues. Just remember half of 65 being 34.But we see the ‘hopeful’ statement as a more ominous indicator. If Mr Ramjattan wants us Guyanese away from cane cutting, is he is saying that the coalition, if re-elected, will bring an end to the sugar industry and thus cane cutting? When it comes to the sugar industry, like many other things, from our experience, it is hard to take at face value what is being said by the now caretaker Administration. The Guyana Times article reminded that the same ‘hopeful’ in 2015 said “…I want to tell you that the propaganda that you are hearing the APNU/AFC coalition is going to ground both industries to the dirt is all lies! We are not going to in any way close the sugar industry”. Well, it reminds us that time is the greatest judge, as not even fully five (5) years later, the sugar industry has seen four (4) estates closed; 7000 made jobless, and the industry last year recording its worst production since 1926.While the Government has said it is committed to maintaining the minimised sugar industry, such expressions, we are aware, have not been translated into any tangible measure. The Guyanese public is well aware that $30 billion has been borrowed to improve the industry’s standing, yet, after nearly two (2) years, the projects earmarked that funding have not broken ground. The January 3, Stabroek News quoted a GuySuCo statement as saying “[t]he Industry will continue to face challenges to achieving reliability in the factories if … capital investments continue to be delayed”. Clearly, in our view, the industry, though having monies available, is being starved of the investment that is desperately required at this time. And now Mr Ramjattan says a Government he is a part of wants to end cane cutting. It’s hard not to connect the dots.Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral SecretaryGAWUlast_img read more

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