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Sugar: The rise and fall of a Government

first_imgDear Editor,There is much debate, analysis and conclusions on what caused Mr Charrandas Persaud to vote against his Government on December 21, 2018 in the National Assembly. Mr Persaud in his media interactions and on social media cited many reasons for his action. One of the reasons identified, is the manner in which his Government handled the sugar industry.In his exact words, he stated that “…. you destroy(ed) the lives of sugar workers in a village, district that I live in, I cannot live with that”.Editor, this statement from Mr Persaud is instructive and requires further examination. From all indications, Mr Persaud was instrumental in luring many sugar workers and their families from his village/district to support the APNU/AFC coalition in the May 2015 elections.The promise of 20 per cent increase in wages for sugar workers and a better life attracted attention and eventual support. This new electoral support from the sugar belt was enough to thrust the APNU/AFC coalition in Government. Upon assumption to office, the coalition shamelessly abandoned its campaign promises for the sugar sector and adopted the Errol Hanoman/Clive Thomas destructive and devious plan of systematic estate closure and sell-out. By December 2017, that promise of 20 per cent increase in wages and a good life for the people in Mr Persaud’s village/district changed to a life of zero wage and misery with the closure of Rose Hall Sugar Estate.This draconian action by the Government on the very people that contributed to its rise to power must have rattled the soul of Mr Persaud and etched at his conscience. He witnessed first-hand; the daily struggles of the thousands of newly unemployed and had no answers for their questions on the promises which he led them to believe.The destroyed livelihoods of ordinary citizens (voters) and the Cadillac livelihood of decision makers (politicians) was convincing enough for Mr Persaud to have no confidence in his own Government. This was expressed in his supporting vote in the National Assembly for which he must be commended.If the APNU/AFC coalition decides to step out of its arrogant and denial modes, it will recognise, the importance of sugar in Guyana’s society. Sugar was instrumental in APNU/AFC’s rise to and fall from power in 3 ½ short years.The subject of sugar will continue to be a major part of the Guyanese conversation. While the APNU/AFC coalition Government was deliberate in diminishing the sector, all other entities and organisations must be commended for the focus and prominence they gave sugar.The electronic and print mediums, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and especially the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) deserve special commendation for its individual focus on the subject of sugar. GAWU has been focused, responsible and relentless in its efforts in highlighting the developments in the industry.Despite its challenges, sugar remains a formidable force, capable of making or breaking a Government. Let’s light a candle for the 7000 sugar workers that were terminated by APNU/ AFC Government.Sincerely,Sookram Persaudlast_img

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