18Jan/20

Requiem…

first_img…for sugar? Or the unions?Look back in anger” – a play in post-WWII Britain – described the “angry young men” who changed Britain forever. Your Eyewitness wonders if thousands of “p*ssed rural men” might soon create headlines like “look back in fear” after they storm governmental offices with their cutlasses? But sadly, it ain’t gonna happen here. Why? Well because the trade unions that are paid to protect sugar workers’ rights, have lost their mojo. Not to mention, their cojones.As your Eyewitness predicted, the political types were out in force for the Enmore Martyrs’ Day. Just as predictably, the Opposition and the Government went on different days. Which just confirms for sure absolutely nothing’s gonna be done to roll back the crisis that’s engulfed the sugar industry. And the unions that showed up did what they’ve been doing for decades – talk! And offering further evidence that they’ve been spayed.With each side pointing fingers at the other: “It’s them that did you in!” The unions once again regurgitated the history of the five workers who were shot and killed 68 years ago. Did they learn anything from the events they described? Not if we go by their actions. If the present powers-that-be are hewing to the same line from 1948 – ignoring the workers’ plight – couldn’t the unions have followed the example of the workers of yore? Show up – but behave bad and protest!!Wouldn’t the plight of the modern sugar workers been better represented by some militant action on this day that’s supposed to symbolise workers refusal to be simply objects of history and take their rightful role as subjects?Now in the normal course of events, institutions, like people will live and die. And it might just be that it’s time for sugar to die. But shouldn’t the Government – which is elected to take care of these things – have a plan for the 18,000 or so workers that are being forced to die a long, slow and painful death? Today it’s Wales and its 1700 workers. If there is nothing to suggest the Government is doing anything different, don’t the unions realise what’s staring them in the face?The refusal of the unions to change their modus operandi on this symbolic day, shows they aren’t prepared to think outside the box. And the Government knows this. All the PM – as the Government rep – did, was to challenge his old PPP comrades to “come to the table”.Just as with the offer of “unity talks” to the PPP, the PM and the unions know with the messenger being the message, this ain’t gonna happen.It’s a shad, shad, shituation.…for local governmentLocal government faces a similar situation as does sugar…and for the same reasons. To wit: the compulsion of politicians to lie to their “constituencies”. Just consider the point of attack by APNU/AFC on the PPP in Georgetown that was focused on their Town Clerk Carol Sooba. If they were to be believed, the woman was the spawn of the devil sent by the PPP’s Minister of Government to torment and thwart the angels at City Hall.Why was the City dirty? Why…Sooba of course! Vendors overrunning City? …Sooba…Sooba …Sooba. It all came down to her being a puppet of Central Government via the Minister of Local Government. Subverting the glorious promise of local government! So now that we have an APNU/AFC Town Clerk, controlled by a new Minister of Local Government Ronald Bulkan, universally castigated, what say they now? Shouldn’t the said Minister stick to his principles and resign?Naaah? What’s sauce for the goose is NOT sauce for the gander!…for CAL or us?So CJIA’s issued an ultimatum to CAL to allow our in-transit passengers at Piarco to keep their duty-free purchases. Or we’ll throw them out!!Really? And what’d we do when all the Charter Flights go belly up?last_img read more

18Jan/20

CPL’s Guyana tourism impact

first_imgPatriotism, national pride and excitement ran high as thousands of Guyanese flocked the Guyana National Stadium at Providence to be part of four exciting Hero Caribbean Premier League home matches which will no doubt have a continuing redounding positive impact on the country’s overall economic and tourism development.It must be stated from the outset that the Hero CPL managed to also unify a very much divided Guyana as persons from all sections of society regardless of their race, creed, sexual orientation and political persuasion rallied behind the so far triumphant Guyana Amazon Warriors.So high was the amount of unity and cohesiveness during the past three weeks that it is widely believed that the tournament stood out as one of the clear examples of avenues that could be used to push the Government’s social cohesion agenda by the utilisation of sport as a mechanism to bridge social and racial gaps that exist in our society.It was this unity and display of cohesiveness that has no doubt motivated and inspired the good performances delivered by the players and organisers of the 2016 tournament thus far. While Guyana would have again lost its bid to host the finals of the game, Providence remains one of the most talked about, hyped and packed venues when compared to the others in the league as far as hosting international cricket events and CPL matches are concerned.Also, the Hero CPL games came to Guyana at a time when there has been a notable slowdown in domestic trade and business. Interestingly, the tournament came to the country at a time too when small businesses were struggling to catch their hands because of various factors which were working against them while depleting their expected levels of revenues and profitability.It therefore provided these small businesses with an opportunity to maximum their profits through sale of small portions of confectionaries near the stadium and at other Hero CPL-associated parties and events. It provided those who signed up officially for the bread and breakfast initiative with another means of garnering revenue because scores of overseas-based Guyanese returned home while there was an increase in tourist arrivals for the matches here.Larger scale businesses and companies also benefited tremendously from the hosting of CPL matches here and while many of them would have maximised the marketing opportunities available via the tournament to boost sales and achieve brand popularity, others settled for just mounting promotions to give back to their loyal customers by providing them opportunities to join the biggest party in sport.The Hero CPL also saw the occupancy rates at local hotels, bars, sports clubs, and community shops who had access to the televised games broadcast significantly boosted as well as their profitability.The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change Government’s endorsement of the event and the laudable involvement of key ministers and personnel in handing out of awards and participation in local Hero CPL events demonstrates their commitment to the development of sport, the success of the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the upwards movement of the direct and indirect benefits to the country’s young tourism sector because of market access and promotional opportunities for Destination Guyana.Research shows that the Guyana economy leads others in the league as far as the benefits it accrues from the injection of millions of US dollars each year it hosts the tournament, leaving out the other noteworthy indirect benefits.As such more companies should get on-board the league by entering into mutual and lucrative deals with the Guyana Franchise owners and providing various forms of endorsement and sponsorship for the Amazon Warriors whenever allowed and applicable according to the existing rules and agreement framework.Secondly, the Government led by its Education, Tourism and Business ministries must do much more to press the owners of the Hero CPL and the regional organisers to bring the semifinals and finals to Guyana even if it means investing more resources and incentives for this to happen.The truth is, Guyana is a cricket-starved nation and the Hero CPL provides an opportunity for the hunger of cricket lovers and supporters to be satisfied; even if a lot of other regional and international matches are not brought as we would like to the country.As the Warriors continue their bid for dominance in this year’s tournament, every Guyanese is duty bound to stand solidly behind the team and its franchise owners who have brought so much entertainment, cricket fun and countless opportunities for business to these shores over the last few years via their continued sponsorship and involvement in the league.last_img read more

18Jan/20

Abolition of Indian Indentureship

first_imgMarch 2017 will be one hundred years since the Indentureship scheme that brought 238,907 men, women and children to this land was brought to an end. Since the 1970s there have been commemorations of the arrival of the first batch that landed on May 5th, 1838. After a sustained campaign by the community around the turn of the millennium, a Public Holiday was declared in 2004 to mark the event.As one of those who played a role in that campaign, the groups with which I was associated always stressed the need for reflection by the community on the holiday, as to whether they had actually “arrived” to where or what their foreparents had been seeking. Whatever might have occurred during the 79 years of Indentureship, just as the 50th year of our achieving independence forced all Guyanese to examine our present circumstances and what we might do to improve the lot of our country going forward, the same can be done by Indian Guyanese, come March 12-20, 2017.“What is the state of the Indian Guyanese community today and what can they do to create a more harmonious and prosperous country?” might well be a broad theme to be addressed. There is the foremost, the question of “identity” that inevitably keeps popping up. No one would claim that there have not been radical changes in the conception of who is an “Indian Guyanese” over the years. Have we become part of a “Calloo Nation”? Creolised? Hybridised? Or part of a “Rhizomatic identity” that encapsulates “multiplicity”? If so, to what extent have there been reciprocity in the rest of society sharing in the “Indian” part of our identity?When Indians were first “contracted”, brought and placed to work on the sugar plantations, they were on the “bottom of the economic ladder” by whatever measure the society was using at the time. Economically, the last Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) conducted at the turn of the millennium showed they were at the same dismal level economically as African Guyanese – the other large group in the society – and both were doing better than the Amerindians. Has anything changed since? Some analysts have claimed that with a PPP Government “favouring” Indian Guyanese that situation has changed? To what extent, if any, is this true?Entering an already formed “Creole Culture”, Indian culture (with a small “c” or capital “C”) – and religion played a dominant role in defining their “cultural” responses and practices – Indians were derided as uncouth and card-carrying members of the great unwashed. Have their Cultural expressions – in song, dance, theatre, art, etc – been given an “equal place”? If not, why not? Is their everyday culture still seen as “backward country coolie”?Politically – and this is the big enchilada in the room – Indians swung from just a handful qualifying for the franchise by the end of Indentureship – and consequently being out of the mainstream of politics – to becoming a majority by the middle of the twentieth century when Universal franchise arrived. Denied political office for the first quarter of a century after independence through rigged elections, and the legitimacy of their political vehicle challenged for the same period afterwards, Indian Guyanese have now seen their numbers amount to below 40% and shrinking. Exactly what form will their political participation take henceforth – and to what end?Since the “end of Indian Indentureship” affected all the countries that received the “Girmityas” as they are called in Fiji – people of the “agreement” or “bound paper” – a central “Indian Diaspora Council” (IDC) is coordinating the “Commemoration of Centennial of Abolition of Indian Indentureship (CCAII)” in a host of countries – Fiji, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Malaysia, Martinique, Mauritius, South Africa, Suriname, and Trinidad and other West Indian islands.A Guyana Chapter of the CCAII is being formed and we welcome the widest possible participation. At this time it is envisaged that there will be activities organised in all three counties to facilitate such participation.last_img read more

18Jan/20

The decline of America

first_imgGuyanese know that the most powerful neighbour in the North is the United States. It is the country to which most Guyanese would like to go to live. Some may prefer Canada. In the pre-independence and post-independence Guyana, it is understandable that Guyanese would have opted for Britain. But the US is still by far the target country for most Guyanese who travel beyond the Caribbean and South American region. Globalisation, the Internet and rapid commute make it possible for people to travel to big cities around the world very quickly.The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is echoing what seems to be a popular narrative these days. He is arguing that America has been taken advantage of by other countries, such as Mexico and China. Thus, his campaign theme and his promise is to “make America great again”. Trump is arguing that America is so weak today that political leaders are unable to control America’s borders, let alone control its economy and stop its decline. Scholars who support this view point to the post-World War II era when America was a dominant hegemonic superpower with extensive global reach. Military leaders have argued that it is difficult for the US to fight two wars simultaneously because American military might has declined over the years. Some people have adopted a more organic view of American decline – the US, like Rome and Britain, will rise and fall.A closer look at the arguments made by those who argue that America is in decline seems to make sense, at least, initially. It is true that the economic well-being of the average American (measured as median household income) has dropped over the last few decades. The US’s main competitor, in military and diplomatic terms, is Russia and America seems impotent in deciding on a preferred outcome in Syria or the Ukraine; areas where Russia seems to exercise greater influence.And China has gone from being a small fraction of the US economy to being the largest economy on Earth. China has a large and growing Gross Domestic Product (although it is less than the US’s when measured at market exchange rates). And the gap between the two countries is widening. In most American households, everything seems to be “made in China”. Clearly, China’s economic takeoff represents a major shift in global power, particularly when it is flexing its military muscle in the mineral-rich South China Sea area. China’s rise is another economic blow to America’s influence in the important Asian market. Aside from China, the US economy continues to face challenges from other developed countries, including Japan and Europe, countries the US provided with generous economic aid after World War II. The US now has a large trade deficit with other countries.One continuing fact remains constant over the years – America has taken on too much of the world’s burden, ranging from providing economic assistance to fighting AIDS.While there is evidence to suggest that the US is not the economic and military giant it once was, it can be argued that its global power has been eclipsed. The US cannot threaten countries as it has done in the past, nor can it easily use its economic aid to influence countries to behave in an approving way. The world has changed. Communism is dead and even the US is respectful of democratic norms and international laws to a certain extent. However, as Thomas Friedman has argued in his book The World is Flat, it is not that America is in decline, rather other nations are catching up to the US in terms of their and military and economic development. These global changes pose new challenges for the US.The reality is that the United States remains the world leader in scientific and technical strength. The American capability for innovation and its global competitive power, its advanced Science and Technology, higher education, culture of innovation, and military technology still place the US ahead of the race among the almost 200 countries in the world. While not in “irreversible decline”, the US must continue to adapt to the changing world environment in order to remain ahead of the game. To say that the US is in decline is a stretch. (Send comments to BRamharack60@gmail.com)last_img read more

18Jan/20

Hitting out…

first_img…at the team?The US TV Series “Law and Order” had one of the longest run – 20 years between 1990 and 2010. And as one of the staples of our viewing fare with reruns, who among us isn’t familiar with its opening theme? “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the Police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders”.Well in Guyana, we do have the Police who’re supposed to keep “Order” but on the matter of the “Law” we have a DPP that uses Police Prosecutors to prosecute those arrested by the Police for breaking the law. Now most of us have to deal with the police when something goes really awry between us Guyanese, don’t we? They represent the “Law and Order”. So it’s not surprising when crime stalks the land and most of us are huddled behind our steel-grilled windows and doors, the pressure’s coming down on them.But with their subject Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan refusing to stick his hand up and take responsibility (see yesterday’s fulminations by your Eyewitness) for offering some reassurances, the acting CoP David Ramnarine had to step to the crease. Rather than regurgitate the statistics that have become the reflexive retort of his Minister, Ramnarine took a pot shot at the Judiciary to which Police Prosecutors present their cases – or rather “our cases” – since we’re the victims.He pointed to some egregious examples of individuals who were charged by the Police but when brought before the High Court or Magistrates’ Court were let out on bail – and then blithely proceeded to commit further crimes. It’s as if the judicial system works like a revolving door for criminals, in the view of the acting CoP. Now this isn’t a unique complaint – in fact it’s quite common among us ordinary law abiding citizens.The fly in this ointment, however, is there’s this rule members of the judiciary HAVE to observe – persons charged have to be presumed innocent until they’re tried and proven guilty. For bail, all the judge/magistrate can do is weigh whether the person charged will turn up for trial and whether his background suggests he won’t do further wrong if released. If “no” the judge would order “remand”.And this is where we end up with the “remand” situation that caused all that mayhem at the Camp Street Jail. Obviously, there are no quick answers to our criminal siege and all the members of the Justice System have to work together.What can’t be done, is to follow the Security Minister and just spout statistics.…at competition?Seems like a “Chicken Feed War” may just break out between Guyana and Jamaica over some businessman here importing Chicken Feed from the land of Dancehall. The local businessman’s undercutting the price at which two of our local manufacturers of Chicken Feed – Badal of Guyana Stockfeeds and Fernandez of Bounty Farms – are selling theirs to our chicken farmers.Now if our Chicken Feed manufacturers are willing to lodge this protest with the GRA, you know the money they’re losing isn’t Chicken Feed! Badal and Fernandez’ gripe is the Jamaican HAVE to be importing soya and corn for their feed so they’re exceeding the 5% Caricom allowance for “foreign inputs” and thus a 15% tariff should be slapped on their products.While that may be so, your Eyewitness wants to know that since GUYANA doesn’t also produce soya and corn, how come the Jamaicans can have insurance and freight added to their Feed price and STILL come in cheaper than theirs?Aren’t they stiffing our poor chicken farmers?…petroleum import licenceWhile there were protests about GWI’s boss Van West-Charles obtaining a petroleum importing licence, folks were puzzled about how he’ll sell the stuff without any storage tanks.Well, he wouldn’t need the latter if he “wins” the contract to supply Exxon rigs and drilling ships, would he?last_img read more

18Jan/20

The prophet disavowed extremism

first_imgThe most urgent topic today among Muslims and non-Muslims alike is the “Islamic extremism” that threatens the security and safety of the world. The term is an oxymoron when taken in the context of the Holy Quran and the life of The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). Islam has always disavowed extremism.The Prophet’s birthday, Youman Nabi, will be celebrated tomorrow. It is a good time to reflect on the legacy he left behind by founding one of the world’s great religions, Islam, a religion that has been hijacked by terrorists, and whose teachings and texts are conveniently edited and taken out of context to justify barbaric acts.The critics who try to prove that Islam and the Prophet Mohamed preached and taught terrorism always use carefully edited versions of Quranic texts or quotes from various hadiths whether they are about jihad, holy war, or about medieval beliefs and practices that dictate a low status for women.Hadiths are anecdotal accounts of the words and actions of the Holy Prophet. There are hundreds of them; all compiled well over 100 years after the death of Mohammed. Just as many can be quoted to justify brutalities, there are as many more that contradict those anecdotes.The hadiths are always subordinate to Quranic texts, but critics and terrorists alike use them liberally to bolster their arguments and actions. In fact, Islamic scholars have written books and numerous articles that debunk the myths of barbarism attached to Mohamed and Islam, but these persist because there is a ready audience who want to believe the worst about Muslims and their religion.The continued brutalities of the terrorists also give credence to the anecdotal texts when nothing could be further from the truth if the Quran is read in context and in its entirety as was intended.The Holy Quran is clear on permitting the use of force only in self-defence which is not dissimilar to the laws of civilised Western countries. Chapter 2 Verse 190 of the Quran states: “You may fight in the cause of God against those who attack you, but do not aggress. God does not like the aggressors.”In Chapter 17 Verse 33, the Quran states: “You shall not kill any person – for God has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. If one is killed unjustly, then we give his heir authority to enforce justice.”In Chapter 4 Verse 90, the Quran states: “ …. If they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no excuse to fight them.”The idea of Islam being a religion that sanctions a holy war to spread the religion is also debunked by the Quran itself. In Chapter 2 Verse 256, the Quran states: “There shall be no compulsion in religion …” and underlines this statement further in Chapter 18 Verse 29: “Proclaim: ‘This is the truth from your Lord’, then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve.”The Quran, and the life and sayings of the Holy Prophet himself are the best antidote to any argument for extremism. Mohammed’s example of compassion, and his support for universal religious freedom and education represents the best possible path to counter the terrorism which is founded on ignorance about Islam and on gross misinterpretations of the Holy Quran.The Prophet was once heard to declare: “The cure for ignorance is to question.” The extremists do not ever question but follow corrupt clerics blindly. They can actually be viewed as an extreme group of the populism of intolerance and hate that has gripped the US, Britain and other European countries where people willingly follow political leaders who are making over intolerance and divisiveness into a message of righteous patriotism that condones attacks on immigrants, refugees, and non-whites.In one of the most famous stories that portray the Prophet’s deep respect for the belief of others, he gave his permission for the Christian tribe of Najran, who were visiting him in Medina, to use the mosque to offer their prayers.This is not the Prophet of extremists and as Muslims the world over celebrate the life of the Prophet Mohammed it is an opportune moment for everyone to pledge to unite against all forms of corruption and extremism and to try and counter these with education and justice, and with respect for each other.Such a world is the goal not only of Islam but of Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and every other faith that teaches us to be the best of humankind.last_img read more

18Jan/20

Shooting Guyana’s foot…

first_img…with riceGuyanese were, last week, informed by the head of the RPA in Berbice that less rice was planted this crop, because farmers were losing their shirts over the prices they were getting for paddy. That’s not surprising…and in fact the question that occupied your Eyewitness’s mind was why they’d kept planting at the old rate for so long. After the PNC-led APNU/AFC government let the lucrative Venezuelan market of US0/tonne slip away when they slipped into office in 2015, what was left for them??A world market price of around US0/tonne…that’s what! And with the prices of all the inputs — pesticides, fertilisers, harvesting, ploughing and husbandry, and diesel remaining unmoved — farmers were now caught between a rock and a hard place.The banks were the first to feel the squeeze, since the farmers just couldn’t service the loans they routinely take to tide them over from crop to crop. Loan defaults cascaded like a breeze blowing through ripe paddy fields. Bad loans had to be written off, and their bottom line turned red!But since most farmers operate at a subsistence level, they had nowhere to turn; and for the last three crops, they’ve been holding their breaths, hoping that the market PM Nagamootoo promised them in Mexico would materialise. But like all of us, they had to exhale sometime…which seems like now. They realise Nagamootoo’s promise of 00/bag of paddy and the Mexican Market were all part of his usual mamaguy!Nagamootoo now says he never promised 00/bag paddy, and this is a “free market,” wherein supply and demand dictate prices. Fair enough. But that’s why your Eyewitness was flummoxed to read over the weekend that the only promise Government was keeping after the closure of Wales sugar estate was to put hundreds of acres into rice!! That’s right — rice farmers, who take meticulous care of their fields to ensure average yields of 40 bags/acre, can’t survive at present prices, but Government has decided to plunge into increased rice production!!Aren’t they going to depress prices further?? Are they trying to destroy the rice industry, just as they did with sugar?? Why else would they now compete with private rice farmers?? If anything, one would’ve thought this Government might have learnt a lesson with sugar…Centralised production just isn’t the way to go. Are they planning to repeat the PNC’s massive investment in silos, mills and all the other infrastructure necessary for rice?Or will they purchase the ones they sold off to Alesie for a song a while back? THAT private investor abandoned rice!But then, profits were never the raison d’etre for PNC’s policies in agri, right??…on the environmentDonald Trump just doesn’t get it, does he? Leaders are supposed to lead, aren’t they? But all he’s concerned about is to feed his ego off the anxiety of his supporters in the sticks – who’ll blame anybody but themselves for their problems. Take the damage to the environment through excessive carbon emission. Even though companies like Exxon tried to duck the data, a government’s not like a private company — always trying to maximise shareholders’ value in the next quarterly report.A govt has to look at the longer term. It’s not just Guyana that’ll be under water if global warming isn’t checked; so will Florida and huge swathes of NY – including Wall Street. But Trump panders to his “flat-earthers” to abandon the Paris commitments made by the Obama Administration because he’s expecting others to carry the US’ load.Maybe they will. But countries like China and India will also steal the US’ thunder and get a headstart on the “next big thing”.Alternative energy sources…not alternative facts!!…at GWISome are wondering why Mayor Patricia Chase-Green was made Chair of GWI. Well, with the parking meters in limbo for a while, new sources of income have to be mined to placate the meter-funders from Colombia.Their collection methods are a tad extreme!!last_img read more

18Jan/20

APNU/AFC’s development blueprint – the stupidification of Guyana

first_imgEach day brings one or more stupid acts by this government and the people that they have placed in power. This is not by accident. APNU/AFC’s development blueprint for Guyana is the absolute stupidification of Guyana. They are clueless about how to move Guyana forward. They believe that if they succeed in making us all stupid, they can make us all believe that the naked emperor is indeed decked out in the most glorious outfits. Take the requirement that all minibuses must be painted green because the APNU’s colour is green. The joke is on them – we see the stupidity of their governance and we see it every time. Just in the last several days, we have some glaring examples.In the last two weeks, President David Granger has been travelling – first to India for a solar conference and, second, to Brazil to attend a water conference. I have no reservation about the President attending these meetings. But days prior to travelling to India for the solar conference, the President announced he was foregoing a Caricom Heads meeting because of the border crisis with Venezuela. What happened? Has the problem with Venezuela been solved and there is no more threat at our borders?The REO of Region Two flabbergasted us with the newest excuse for corruption – excitement to spend money. For almost three years now, the Region Two REO has ruled as if he is an emperor. He has committed one corrupt act after another and has spent taxpayers’ money as if it belongs to him. He has ignored warnings from the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament. Called to explain himself, he arrogantly offered the excuse that he was “too excited” about spending the people’s money. This absurdity is enough to fire him, but in the halls of APNU/AFC the Region Two REO is embraced as a hero. In APNU/AFC’s stupidification posture, they expect we will overlook corruption and accept excitement as an excuse for abusing Guyana’s treasury.Over the last several weeks, we have looked with amazement at the incompetence of the Government as revealed by its handling of GuySuCo. Is there a new Board or not? We are told yes and then we are told no. There was even a whole-page advertisement announcing the new Board with the pictures of the new members. Then Minister of State, Joseph Harmon cautioned that this was not the case and the advertisement is a rogue one. Sheer incompetence, but they think we are too stupid to see it.Last week, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan visited Canje where recently unemployed sugar workers are confronting tough times. This is the same Ramjattan, who, during the campaign for the May 2015 election, promised sugar workers that all estates will be kept open and that sugar workers will be given a 20 per cent annual increase in wages and benefits. Now in March 2018, Ramjattan looked the workers in their eyes and lied again, insisting that APNU/AFC gave the Region Six RDC money in the 2018 Budget to purchase a bus to provide free transportation for the children of sugar workers in Canje. The Regional Chairman immediately slammed the barefaced lie. Ramjattan fully expects people to believe the lie, because he thinks we stupid. In the meanwhile, his Region Six sidekick, Charandass Persaud, is demanding that sugar workers be jailed for not being able to send their children to school.Agriculture Minister Noel Holder for more than two years ignored the US requirements for new fishery regulations, leading to America banning fish exports from Guyana. Hundreds of fishermen have already become unemployed because we lost one of the most important markets for fish. Instead of accepting blame and accelerating their efforts to resume the trade, the Minister demanded our sympathy because the loss of the market is simply a consequence of America’s protectionist policy. The truth is the Minister is derelict in his duty, AWOL, missing in action.President Granger’s favourite governance tool, the CoI, if enforced in this case, would reveal total, brazen and reckless incompetence on the part of one of the most inept Ministers in the Cabinet. Instead of President Granger holding him responsible, he is silent and expects us to blame America. The refusal for accountability is based on APNU/AFC’s stupidification strategy.last_img read more

18Jan/20

Guyana needs working people, not lazy politicians

first_imgIf one reflects on the state of our population in Guyana, one can understand why we are still stuck with an output per person of below US$5000 per year. In 1960, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of Guyana was US$307 per year, while that of Singapore was US$427, a mere US$120 apart. Today, Singapore produced some US$53,000 per person while Guyana is stuck in the dregs at US$4456.Much of the world rewards leadership that knows where they are going and this is exactly what has not happened in Guyana. Singapore nurtured their education systems and their people. The strategy was educating their people in the right field of study, at the right time, at the right levels and used socially intrusive initiatives such as housing to ensure that the people can focus on improving their productivity. Today, almost 98 per cent of Singaporeans own their own homes. Compared to the Granger tenure, they have built less than 200 houses in three years in a population that has a demand for 20,000 homes today.Singapore ensured that ethnic balance is reflected in all State institutions, unlike this Granger regime that appointed 16 of the 17 Permanent Secretaries from one race and over 85 per cent of the newly appointed heads of agencies from the same race. A multiracial, multi-religious nation cannot develop in such a manner. President Granger is wrong.Guyana faced this tragic developmental model for 28 years under the People’s National Congress and the results were tragic for Guyana; we became uncreditworthy and financially bankrupt by the time Desmond Hoyte changed the model. Today, under Granger, we are back to square one, doing the same thing again, and expecting a different outcome. That is developmental insanity!Not only the world but also some 550,000 Guyanese saw this developmental insanity and rejected it by voting with their feet. This situation has led to stagnation in the population. Meanwhile, in a place like Singapore, they empowered their entrepreneurs causing a dire shortage of skilled workers. By 2017, there were some 1.6 million foreign workers in Singapore on a work permit. Guyana, on the other hand, is firing 6000 sugar workers.The table below illustrates what has been happening on the population front in Guyana compared to Singapore. That city-state has expanded its population six times over in 57 years, meanwhile, in Guyana, we have chased so many of our people out the country that we have not even doubled our population in this period.SINGAPORE GUYANAPOPULATION IN 1950 1,022,000 406,000POPULATION IN 2017 7,260,000 (including 1.65M migrants on work permits) 777,000PERCENTAGEINCREASE(over 67 years) 610% 91%In Singapore, their construction sector, seafood sector, shipping sector, engineering sector and hi-tech sector are all booming and it did not happen by magic. It took leadership! When LFS Burnham was playing political strong man travelling the world selling his bankrupt ideas, Singapore was building their nation brick by brick. The end result is a testament to who was the developmental thoroughbred and who was the developmental “kangala”.As an example, Singapore does not have one drop of crude oil but has one of the largest petroleum industries in Asia. Guyana by 2022 will be pumping about 500,000 bpd of crude oil but will not have even a 40,000 bpd refinery thanks to the bankrupt ideas of President Granger, if we are to believe the words of Minister Raphael Trotman.Progressive nations are focused on revenue and the value-added elements of the value chain. This Granger model is focused on spending and more spending. Even the African leaders have moved away from this “Mugabian philosophy”. If the people are to reflect on the nation’s gold reserves and foreign reserves, they will find that since President Granger arrived in 2015, we have lost 85 per cent of our gold reserves and the stock of foreign reserves have evaporated by more than US$200 million. And there is no concrete plan to refill the coffers.Today we spend some GY$30 billion of taxpayers’ dollars per year on an education system that produces a 38 per cent pass rates in Mathematics (2016) and that includes a Grade III, which in my books is not a passing grade. I was advised that it has declined to 35 per cent in 2017. If a nation cannot get its Mathematics right, it cannot compete in the new global world order. SIMPLE!The outcome of this lackadaisical style of governance from Granger is most destructive. The Guyanese people are waking up to a 1.9 per cent growth rate in 2018, a far cry from the 5.4 per cent of 2013. When will this gobbledygook style of leadership end in Guyana?last_img read more

18Jan/20

The quest for social justice

first_imgAccording to the United Nations, the principles of social justice are upheld when countries promote gender equality or the rights of Indigenous peoples and migrants. Additionally, countries advance social justice when they remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability. On November 26, 2007, the General Assembly declared that starting from the 63rd session of the General Assembly, February 20, will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice.For the UN, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of its global mission to promote development and human dignity. This year’s theme is “Workers on the Move: the Quest for Social Justice”.The adoption by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation is just one recent example of its commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work. It constitutes a compass for the promotion of a fair globalisation based on Decent Work, as well as a practical tool to accelerate progress in the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda at the country level. It also reflects a productive outlook by highlighting the importance of sustainable enterprises in creating greater employment and income opportunities for all.The General Assembly recognises that social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.Further globalisation and interdependence are opening new opportunities through trade, investment and capital flows and advances in technology, including information technology, for the growth of the world economy and the development and improvement of living standards around the world. Today, there remain serious challenges, including serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion, and inequality within and among societies and considerable obstacles to further integration and full participation in the global economy for developing countries as well as some countries with economies in transition.To mark this occasion, Journalists around the world will bring together concrete stories and testimonies about the challenges of social justice and labour migration and to suggest possible policy responses to address these challenges. They will also use the opportunity to bring to the fore issues on labour migration by highlighting the positive contribution of migrant workers to countries of origin, transit, and destination as well as the key aspects such as their fair recruitment.As part of the programme of activities, participants will also contribute to the UN TOGETHER campaign, which has the purpose of encouraging global action in promoting non-discrimination and addressing the problem of rising xenophobia against refugees and migrants.In his message, Secretary General of the ILO, Guy Ryder emphasised that migrant workers, like all workers, are entitled to fair treatment; however, he also pointed out that many migrant workers end up trapped in jobs with low pay and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, often in the informal economy, without respect for their labour and other human rights.He further outlined that good governance will foster strong cooperation across migration corridors and regions, which should be guided by international labour standards, in particular the fundamental principles and rights at work and the relevant ILO and UN Conventions.The ILO is, therefore, encouraging the adoption of fair labour migration governance frameworks at all levels – global, regional and national. These include a comprehensive, integrated and “whole of government” approach that engages labour ministries together with business, and employers’ and workers’ organisations – those on the frontlines of labour markets.February 20, 2010, marks the annual commemoration of World Day of Social Justice, which recognises, in the words of UN General Assembly Resolution that “social development and social justice cannot be attained… in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms” .Most migration today is linked, directly or indirectly, to the search for decent work opportunities. While there are many Guyanese who seek employment in other countries, there are also immigrants who have opened businesses locally who are also deserving of fair treatment. On this day, therefore, all Guyanese should join in the global call for social and economic justice and demand that the Government promote inclusive development for all citizens.last_img read more