It is not too late for the regime to change course

Dear Editor,

It is clear to me that this regime’s handling of the situation in the sugar industry is largely motivated by sheer bias in the form of discrimination. This is blinding the administration to the grave hardships which will follow the effective closure of the sugar industry on all Guyanese. It will boomerang on the government.

It is obvious that with the dismissal of such a large body of workers, approaching 7,000 in number, the government’s collection of income tax will suffer. They will have to push the Commissioner of Revenue to become even more ridiculous in measures to garner income to sustain the ‘good life’ of the elite. More taxes on the likes of kitchen gardens and dog owners will ensue. The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is another institution that would see a significant decline in its revenues. This can put this institution at risk since there are not many upcoming investment possibilities being realized in the economy presently.  This suggests that the regime would have to raise workers and employers’ contributions significantly. They would also become more oppressive as they continue to pursue the self-employed: roadside mechanics; electricians; plumbers; and others, who are now barely eking out a living.

The administrators are obviously not looking at the domino effect of this ill-advised decision on itself and the whole population. Maybe the regime is just putting all its hopes on oil.

However, we are told that the direct employment from oil will not be that great. Most of the high paying jobs will go to foreigners. What the locals would mainly get is the lower paying jobs.

We would not get ‒ at least not in a hurry ‒ benefits from the byproducts of oil, such as fertilizers, grease, engine oil, etc, since we will not be doing any refining.  All of that would be lost to us.

The Guyana sugar industry remains unmatched in job creation – both directly and indirectly.

The realization of new revenue streams coming on due to the byproducts of sugar, will be able to provide high paying jobs for the highly skilled as well as the labourers. Many other industries can be created off the byproducts of sugar.

Even though it is late, the regime can still change course, it is not too late!

Yours faithfully,

Donald Ramotar

Former President

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