The abuse of sugar workers and some tentative solutions

My intention was to write this week about whether Guyana can evade the resource curse, which is often associated with oil and natural resource extraction. However, the continuing crisis in the sugar industry and the terrible treatment of sugar workers necessitate my seventh direct column on this issue. Recently, DDL signalled it might be willing to pursue backward integration with GuySuCo to secure molasses, which is used as input for rum production. Last week Eusi Kwayana, Andaiye and Moses Bhagwan criticized the APNU+AFC government over the sacking of thousands of sugar workers without a viable alternative. As I write this column, I am reading former President Ramotar’s sensible letter (SN, Jan 11, 2018) outlining long-term proposals for the sugar industry. The trouble with Mr Ramotar’s proposals is they should have been implemented around the late 1990s or early 2000s when his party was in power.

The genie has left the bottle largely because the PPP/C let it out; as a result, there is no more short-term solution for the sugar industry. There will be very painful adjustments and thousands of job losses because of the serious policy blunders of the PPP/C and the uncaring attitude towards sugar workers by the APNU+AFC government. The callous government of well-off upper middle-class Guyanese, which early on paid itself a 50% salary increase for doing absolutely nothing, sent home thousands of poor sugar workers without a severance package and alternative vision. For decades, the clueless GAWU has ….


The Consolidation Fund and the persistent overdrafts

 We noted last week that the Consolidated Fund (CF), which has been a standard part of the budget estimates, was not reported for the 2018 budget.

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Budget 2018: Does it make a credible commitment to social cohesion and good governance?

We noted last week that the budget provides a glimpse that the government is starting to think about a coherent development strategy.

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Budget 2018: Searching for the comprehensive economic vision? Part 1 

The 2018 national budget outlines snippets of a broader economic vision, the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), which somewhat underpins this budget and will likely do so for future APNU+AFC budgets.

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