Sugar workers should recognise they have become fodder for bigger ambitions

Dear Editor,

It is absolutely no surprise that there is hard sharp disagreement between party leadership and veteran unionists at a critical juncture of the sugar worker crisis. It would be shocking if it were otherwise, given the bent of the most powerful figure in the mix.

The disagreement and now public rift confirms one thing for me: a political controller in this country has neither interest nor care nor place for what is best for sugar workers, their families, and their communities. To repeat a longstanding conviction: there is no thought for the welfare of this nation and its peoples, even one’s own people.  In terms of the latter, this is unparalleled in the leadership history of this country, all political groups considered.  Although this is my position, this whole nation should have no difficulty being in lockstep with me on this particular issue.  It is more than about those who have eyes should see and ears should hear; it is that those who have minds should use them: freely, sensibly, critically.

There are those who are about themselves, and themselves only.  It is so all the time.  In this instance involving the plight of sugar worker, there ought to be no need for identification or introduction. The wreckage of handiwork is there to be examined; and the rich rewards of power on full physical display.  It was what was prioritized and rammed through every objection, while the doomsday reality checks of sugar workers hovered and drew nearer.

Whenever a sliver of light (as in that now condemned meeting) peers through the previously impenetrable gloom, the manmade nightmare-a politically conceived one, for certainty-thickens and is extended. There should be no mistake: this is not about who gets to eat; about who compromises for some measure of continuity in some format; or about who is afforded an opportunity for some still undefined morsel and trickle of dignity and self-esteem.  Instead, the latest development is about apocalyptically driven visions of those addicted to power and control, for themselves and by themselves. To get to those points, they would use anything and anyone at any time; on this occasion it is sugar workers who are the numerical means, and the slick calculations harnessed for personal political power trips. Damn the torpedoes. Damn the country. Damn the sugar workers.

Now grizzled veterans number among enemies; soon, they will perhaps be branded as treacherous for exploring an avenue, any avenue, to present their members with hope through an option. There was none earlier. The workers have to decide where they priorities are; and if they want to go along blindly and unthinkingly. They must understand that if there is the lifeline of a workaround, the racial, political, and electoral grip is lessened.  There are those who know this and see this; they will not allow this to happen, even if it has to come at the price of internal upheaval. No ground must be given, compromise denied, regardless of the human toll. The sugar workers should recognize what they have become: fodder and insignificant collateral for bigger ambitions.

For centuries there was that abomination by humanity against humanity called chattel slavery.  For several decades there is an offshoot of that right here in Guyana. It is called mental slavery and political bondage.  Sugar workers stand as Exhibit A.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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