Divest GuySuCo to the workers

Dear Editor,

As is well known, the Good Lord has spared us from the earthquakes and hurricanes suffered by neighbouring countries, only leaving us to mismanage the land of many waters. Let me get to the sweet of the sugar matter.

The political solution is blindingly simple. The workers’ union feels that the estates can produce sugar and they say that their members prefer to work as they always did.

The government, informed by no less a person than the country’s most eminent professor and chairman of the GuySuCo board that sugar is grossly uneconomic, says it must divest. Very well then, divest to the workers, hand it over to GAWU, just as it is. Let them run it with a board of their own choosing.

If the government fails to do that, it would simply be demonstrating again it is clueless. They have the gall to burden taxpayers with $9 billion this year and more every year (SN, July 8, 2017) only to set up a sugar divestment unit that may just translate to more jobs and perks for the party faithful. Needless to say, that annual $9B can contribute to rebuilding proper jails in more suitable places.

If GAWU does not accept within a reasonable time (like 2 months, to set up its business arm: Sugar Workers Cooperative?), then what is it complaining about? Having been allowed to have mostly their own way for 23 years under the PPP and to live off the millions already paid to subsidise the sugar industry, they should now be able to demonstrate the justification of that investment.

All assets and liabilities would have to be transferred, except those that may have been created only by virtue of government being the guarantor, in which case the new owners would undertake to repay the government at the same rate the government expected to repay the creditors.

Come on, we don’t want to hear why it can’t be done. Let us hear what has to be done and do it. If all else fails, there is always recourse to an Act of Parliament. The PPP should easily agree. If they don’t, then it would appear they expect to carry on the debt-creating sugar industry to subsidise their party supporters among the sugar workers.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Let’s show the world that we can solve our own problems after 50 years instead of begging for so much foreign aid.

Yours faithfully,

Alfred Bhulai 

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