Leave Us Homeless, Give Outsider

Just when the Granger administration is angling to take away two billion (Yes. $2,000,000,000) in sugar cane lands from GUYSUCO, in exchange for covering their operational debts, the very Granger administration is pledging to afford free lands (maybe the same GUYSUCO lands) to Trinidadians and other Caribbean residents, displaced by the latest hurricanes. This was the promise made by President Granger, while attending the recent UN meetings, in New York

Editor, let me say on the behalf of my United Republican Party (URP), that I firmly believe that Guyana in under populated and can benefit from an influx of hardworking, intelligent people. May I also say, unequivocally, that I agree with our President, David Granger, that if the Caribbean is ravaged by these and any other disaster and need to move to Guyana – temporally or permanently – they are welcomed and should be accommodated.

However, the political duplicitous act, of taking away lands from your own, while availing the very lands to your neighbors is short sighted. When the locals lands are taken away and given to others, imagine, just for a moment, what kind of sentiments and relationships those folks are likely to have with the people who are the beneficiaries of those said lands.

It is as if the current administration gets illogical when they are on these overseas trips. And I say this because the APNU/AFC members have this way of going to NY and Canada and making all these pie-in-the-sky promising and then when it is time to deliver, they fail miserable. Just about everyone I know who heard the representatives of the Coalition promise a red carpet welcome when coming home, has been nauseatingly disappointed upon their return. Nothing that these ministers say while outside of Guyana to the Diaspora – and many time to those of us in Guyana – can be taken seriously.

However, the folks in the Caribbean and international countries to whom our Government is making these promises of swats of lands are not as docile as the typical Guyanese. The leaders of those countries will take Granger’s words seriously. They will then use those promises as political clout back in their home countries. Our administration will have to then follow through with their promises, or be forced to be internationally embarrassed. So the Government has to be very careful to not be bluffing or ‘mamaguying’ these very desperate people.

So as I conclude, let me return to what the URP has always be suggesting as a way out of this GUYSUCO quagmire. We are suggesting that the Granger administration put together a satisfactory severance package for all the sugar workers. That package should include parcels of lands. The sugar workers will then be able to self-determine what they want to do with their lands. If GUYSUCO is auctioned off and the buyers remain in sugar production, the folks can chose to plant cane. If the new owners want to do fish farming, or soya, or hemp, etc., then the new land owners can chose to invest in those crops. This would be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

We all know that these multi-billion dollar bailouts only benefit the top 10% of the sugar industry, who are paid millions of dollars monthly. And with this new land-for-cash arrangement that the Granger administration is contemplating, very soon GUYSUCO will have no lands with which to settle their personal commitments with those who have spent their entire lives in this industry. The URP is very concerned that if the standoff with the sugar workers is not handled in a timely manner, what happened to the bauxite workers in Linden, will again happen to the sugar workers; they will be left broke and broken, with nothing to show what they have sacrificed to develop this nation.