Exits for sugar workers are blocked by their leaders

Dear Editor,

Sugar workers all over, but especially those once attached to the Wales Estate, are trapped in a bad place.  All the exits that offer some semblance of relief, of dignity, and of hope are immovably blocked by the formidable calculating presence of their leaders, dogmatic political leaders.  Therein is enshrined the vainglorious charge to a committed sugar brigade and with a similar tragic fate in the offing.

Impacted workers are in a bind: the practical and responsible require putting food on the table, and caring for the family; whether Stone Age man or today’s sugar workers this is the essence of existence.  That should always be first.  On the other hand, the historical, the tribal, and the unthinkingly emotional compel this equivalent of a fateful Guyanese Light Brigade to follow blindly, unquestioningly leaders that are calculating and manipulating them for their own priorities.

These are the political leaders chomping at the bit for every soundbite, with an eye on three years hence, while troubled families are reduced to scrambling for any available morsel on which to bite to get to the next day.  The families themselves have said so publicly in forlorn, resigned words.  All the while, leaders dedicated to their own self-serving visions prefer that they face hardship; and that segments of the populace previously squeezed to the margins now contribute to carry what has become an increasingly tortuous and unwelcome load. This is political entrapment directed at every side of the political divide, and at the hands of clever leaders, so that their own survival and triumph can be assured.

In this manner, a once sturdy working class is transformed to a depending, but dependable, underclass.  It is what John McWhorter identified through the revealing term “therapeutic alienation” in his scorching Winning the Race –Beyond the Crisis in Black America.

Indeed, here in sugar sector Guyana, matters have been reduced to the alienation of “us against them” (the usual bogeymen); the traditional prejudices (easily whipped); and fearmongering run amok (incited paralysis).  The source of all of these caprices is from those who lack one honest bone, and may have never done an honest day’s work, but who take the helm to lead the psychically damaged to wrack and ruin.  They are a means to be used to get to the end of that rainbow in 2020.

In this context, facts and figures do not matter one whit.  Thus the EU is challenged.  Yet somehow, there is careful

distancing and silence from the same heroic leadership class, who suddenly display a lack of brawn and brain to question local sugar production costs, and its woeful lagging in the international arena.  Those production costs are said to be three times (for emphasis: three times) that which prevails in the global marketplace.

Surely, this industry, this sector, this business is publicly imploding upon itself.  It cannot compete; it is unable to minimize the drain and pain of losses; and it is unwilling to face the spectre and realities of necessary diabetic amputations to grant some lease on life.  No business can be run this way; no segment, no constituent can be carried in this way for too long by anyone and where many are unwilling to do so.  These are the hurtling forces and the immovable mentalities that litter the entrenched and still growing disaster of sugar.  It is just as inconceivable that there will be any listening by anyone to start over; either over there or anywhere else.

Thus, the pot is stirred, the embers kindled.  Votes are guaranteed; yet in so doing an afflicted group commit to the disenfranchisement of first economic deprivation and then economic and social blight.  If the burdens were less, if there was some reasonable probability of succeeding, of even breaking even, then I would say: stay the course, pay the price, and share the pain.

Instead, there is only disbelief at the energies expended by crafty leaders to mislead the hapless and trusting.  This they do through palpable manoeuvres and an array of artifices that accelerate the self-enfeeblement of those on whose behalf they claim to have only their best interests.

In the end, the gullible will have burrowed into irreversible territory.  I believe that matters have already tipped to the point of no return.  The ones who have nothing to lose and everything to gain, are the same ones urging followers forward to self-destruction.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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