It has been reported that Leader of the Opposition PPP/C Bharrat Jagdeo has promised retrenched sugar workers a monthly stipend if re-elected in the 2020 General Election (‘If re-elected PPP/C Gov’t will give retrenched sugar workers monthly sum until they find jobs’, Sunday Stabroek, December 17).
While the APNU+AFC government of President David Granger should be blamed for sacking thousands of people, the previous PPP/C governments of Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar should also shoulder some of this blame for not diversifying the sugar industry.
Sugar workers should not be comforted by a promise from Bharrat Jagdeo of money-for-votes in two years’ time if the PPP/C is re-elected. In the meantime, what are they supposed to do?
What about the government’s much touted land for sugar workers to do farming? And, how exactly are the sugar workers and their families supposed to survive while their crops are growing?
I would have been more appreciative of Bharrat Jagdeo’s approach if he sold his mansion, downsized, and gave money to the sugar workers. But this is not going to happen.
Even with investment in Guyana, it will take time for the results to materialise (that is, jobs to be created so that more people are employed).
It is the responsibility of the government of the day to cushion the impact that retrenchment will have on the sugar workers and their communities. The government created this problem by sacking thousands of people; let them fix it.