…tell Africans, people before profits
…sends home thousands from GuySuCo same day
The hypocrisy of the David Granger led, A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance for Change (APNU-AFC) coalition government has reached staggering, if not dangerous proportions, in the light of what transpired this past week with the single largest retrenchment of workers in Guyana’s recent history.
The scathing conclusion was arrived at this past week by Economic Advisor to the Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Ramsaroop.
He was at the time weighing in on the recent termination letters which were issued to more than 3,000 workers of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
News of the retrenchment came on the same day that President Granger was on the African continent, pontificating to those leaders, the need for the principle of ‘people before profits’—a policy he said, was being upheld in Guyana. What crass hypocrisy!
The President, according to Dr Ramsaroop, “was being less than honest since on that same day the nation learnt that thousands of sugar workers in Berbice were being sent home.”
Head of State, President David Granger addressed the United Nations Environment Assembly, held in Nairobi, Kenya with the objective of combatting pollution in the extractive sector.
In his address, the Guyanese leader espoused that people “must be at the heart of the development of our natural resources…people must come before profits.”
Dr Ramsaroop has since observed that there “was in my opinion, a blatant attempt to cover up by the Government’s chief cook, bottle washer now chief propagandist spinner ”
He was referring to Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who when cornered in the corridors of Parliament building over the dismissals of literally thousands of workers, said he read about it in the newspapers as did everyone else.
“Minister Harmon wants this nation to believe that a wholly government owned entity, with a board of directors which was recently installed by the newly installed government, took a decision to send home 3,000 workers without communicating such a decision to the actual owners…He must be joking”
Speaking to the government’s contemptuous display of hypocrisy and arrogance in its handling of the nation’s business and the treatment of its assets, Dr Ramsaroop posited “he (Harmon) had the gall to tell this nation that the Cabinet was not informed of this decision…What next is going to happen only for Minister Harmon to come and say Cabinet didn’t know.”
Dr Ramsaroop in seeking to point the danger of this practice being embraced by the APNU-AFC government, said had reporters not cornered the Agriculture Minister literally minutes after speaking to Minister Harmon, the charade might have worked.
Agriculture Minister Noel Holder told reporters that nobody should be surprised since the move to retrench the workers is in keeping with a white paper he had presented to the House.
Minister Holder told reporters bluntly there will be no planting of canes and as such there will be no work at the Rose Hall and other Estates.
“Remember it was Harmon who said only recently that government had put off the closure of the estates until 2018…well folks, the Agriculture Minister laid it bare when he clarified that 2018 in relation to the closure of the estates meant January 1.”
The Economic Advisor was adamant however, “it is the President himself who has to shoulder the blame for this…such a decision could not have been taken without his knowledge and approval and the true hypocritical nature of the once aloof statesman (President Granger) is now being revealed.”
He questioned how else does a person explain, President Granger going to Africa, preaching about the importance of people before profits –no doubt in reference to oil revenues—and on the same day back home thousands of east Indians in Berbice woke up the news that they are now jobless.”
Dr Ramsaroop, said “the events of the past week signal a turning point in Guyana’s history, since the President is now operating not only with impunity and disregard for the laws of the country, but with a clear disregard for constituencies—the people that vote at elections.”
He posited, “any student of political science in their first semester would tell you that the firing of 3,000 Berbicians days before the Christmas holidays, represent not only 3,000 lost votes for the government come elections, but 3,000 families directly impacted with a loss of income days before Christmas…this was indeed a heartless act on the part of this administration.”
The Economic Advisor is convinced however that the answers as to President Granger’s “boldness in his actions and callous disregard for Guyanese who did not vote for him can be found in the Budget presented for 2018.”
He told this publication that at present the government speakers are engaged in a process of obfuscation and given the voting divide in the House it is unlikely that anything the opposition advances will be taken on board. The one seat majority, with a few hundred votes will prevail.
The analyst said instead of listening to politicians’ attempt to score political points and press coverage, a careful look should be had at the actual figures which are now publicly available.
Dr Ramsaroop is committed to providing a complete analysis of the 2018 Budget adding that “President Granger’s arrogant actions, disdain for and treatment of the sugar workers in a functioning democracy spell the end of the coalition at the helm. Such bold and hypocritical stances being taken by this administration must lead people to wake up and really ask serious questions.”
He said, “before getting into the corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s resources, there are several specific allocations or in some cases non-allocations of monies in the 2018 that are causes for concern.”
The economic advisor concluded by again reminding of the recent shenanigans at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), a situation compounded by a cut in its budget for 2018 by almost $1B—“2018, a year it is supposed to run off Local Government Elections after which General Elections are to be held.”