APNU/AFC broke their promise to sugar workers, gives them a bowl of tears

first_imgThe A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) has deliberately, recklessly and wickedly targeted sugar workers in their plan to consolidate their dictatorship in Guyana. Sugar workers and sugar communities are being transformed into desolate, depressed, impoverished communities. Already two suicide deaths have occurred among terminated sugar workers. Ralph Ramkarran has warned of the consequences of crime and under-development in these communities. Elders of the Working People’s Alliance, such as Eusi Kwayana, Moses Bhagwan and Andaiye, have stood up and spoken out against the callousness of this Government. President Granger’s talk of social cohesion is hypocrisy and unholy political gymnastics as sugar workers and their families are denied the right to “fit and proper” living. We must all stand up and speak out. Silence is acquiescence.The latest betrayal is APNU/AFC’s promise of paying sugar workers their severance payments in January 2018, an obligation under the laws of Guyana. This appears to be an empty promise.Only a cynic, a hypocrite or a fool would argue that APNU/AFC does not suffer from a pathological allergy to the truth. In fact, three things can be expected on a daily basis – another example of lying, another example of corruption, another broken promise. Sugar workers have borne a disproportionate share of APNU/ AFC’s lies, corruption and broken promises. A couple of weeks ago, I cautioned that the Agriculture Minister has an aversion to the truth whenever he addresses issues concerning sugar workers. At the time, he was promising that the more than 4000 sugar workers who received termination letters from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) would be paid their severance in January. We assumed he was talking about payments being made in January 2018.Now, shamelessly, the Agriculture Minister ominously admits the Finance Minister is trying desperately to “scrape up” the required funds to affect the payment to sugar workers. Budget 2018 had not yet been passed when APNU/AFC approved the termination of the sugar workers. In fact, long before they had begun the preparation of Budget 2018, they had already announced the closure of Rose Hall, Skeldon and Enmore. One would have thought they would have made provisions to pay the workers. Incidentally, many of the sugar workers from Wales who were terminated since 2016 have not been paid their severance. Neither the workers nor I believe that APNU/AFC will keep their promise of paying severance this month. Everyone in the APNU/AFC machinery now concedes, as I had warned a couple of weeks ago, that Budget 2018 did not cater for severance payment for sugar workers.The expected broken severance payment promise to the sugar workers will be another knife in the back of sugar workers. APNU/AFC and their cloying sycophants will argue that we are still in January, but if there were any intention to make the payments, they would already know where the money is. GuySuCo has stated it has no money to pay and they cannot say when and if the workers will be paid. The fact that APNU/AFC now says they are “scraping” to find the money is a giveaway that they have every intention to break their promise to the sugar workers. There is US$18 million sitting in the secret Bank of Guyana account. “Scrape” it from there.No right-thinking Guyanese would be shocked by another broken promise to sugar workers. They promised they would not close any sugar estate – they broke that promise. They promised sugar workers a 20 per cent increase – in fact, they have frozen wages at the 2014 level, with zero increase in 2015, 2016, 2017. They promised better management – we have had the worse annual production in the last 100 years. The next lie will drop later in the year – closure of Uitvlugt. In all of this, the self-proclaimed “champions” of the sugar workers – Moses Nagamootoo and Khemraj Ramjattan – are silent.last_img read more