SUGAR IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF GUYANA

I am so pleased that our government is rolling its sleeves up in the trenches fighting the holy war for the growth and development of our economy and for the betterment of our citizens.

I am extremely impressed with the visions being expressed by his Excellency, President Dr. Irfaan Ali; Prime Minister Brigadier, Mark Phillips; and Vice-President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, along with the Cabinet advisers and other leaders. I am extremely proud of the dynamo, drive, and incessant visits to firstly listen and speak to the people. I am elated that they are exemplifying themselves to the people; recognising that the people are the most important factor in our nation-building.

As for the opposition, I wish to give them a piece of advice: they need to know that the person who councils and guides is not an enemy, but a true friend. Your true friend is not the one who flatters and cajoles you. Unfortunately, there are those who cannot see the wisdom of this philosophy and psychology of life.

At this juncture, I wish to refer to one of our major natural resources: sugar, which many of the supporters of the opposition have been fed the idea that sugar is a burden on our economy and prosperity. Here is wherein the developmental context of nations in the former government was seriously lacking in vision.

Prior to closing down the sugar estates and destroying thousands of lives and shaking up our economy, they could have simply gone and spoken to the people! They should have listened to the heart and soul of the people! The people are the owners and employers of governments and it is the people that will hire and fire governments.

If a government that enjoys the vagaries of power fails to understand the true power of the people, then they are unfit for office. In finality, the people will nail their coffins tight as we have seen. With this in mind, I wish to state that I think the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) or People’s National Congress (PNC) made a huge mistake and caused the people to symbolically nail their coffins tight!

In my view, the opposition has a tough job of re-imposing themselves in the minds of the population to give them another chance. Also, the acts of some individuals after the elections in 2020 and the five months of prolonged suffering has proven that they continue to play bullies without seeking to win the hearts and minds of the government and, in particular, the people.

They have not grasped the idea of sugar in the hearts of some large segments of the Guyanese population. I am not talking about the Indo-Guyanese grouping alone, but also of the large segment of Afro-Guyanese in many communities in Region Six, where all ethnicities live as one, breathe as one, share, and coexist as one family. The new opposition failed to consult with the people, and that is a big blunder on their part. This is possibly one reason why they would never be able to rise again because of their inability to talk to the people, in general, and have the people listen to them. They failed to seek the guidance of the people as the then government. The high-handedness of closing sugar in these major areas is due to the gross dereliction of intelligence, comprehension, and knowledge of areas and people.

As for the Alliance For Change (AFC), it is bye-bye perennially. I am shocked to see an institution as experienced as The People’s National Congress (PNC) which I have had respect for would give nine free seats to an entity that did not even bring a third of one. The same Alliance For Change (AFC) who failed to speak to the people to prepare them that sugar is about to be destroyed. It was Former Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, who said the sugar industry was too big to fall. However, as soon as they took power they started to dismantle sugar.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, and families, as I said above, and as most of you with wisdom understand, sugar is here to stay! Sugar is Guyana’s heartbeat and a way of survival for tens of thousands of Guyanese. Sugar lives in the bloodline and has become Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the various towns and cities of Guyana. Sugar has become life, but as I said, the former government lacked the vision, ideology, and even the mindset of thought to understand the extensiveness and breath of sugar. Every life, every aspect of business: trucking, manufacturing, services, supermarkets, stores, all forms of commerce, welding establishments, transportation systems, etc., all existed and survived because of the thing called ‘sugar.’

I do not have a fiery tongue as Freddie Kissoon’s but the decision and overnight closure by the then newly-appointed A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) + Alliance For Change (AFC) government smacked of gross disrespect and even hate for the sugar bearing areas and the people who dominate these areas. They did not think of forming groups or as the brainchild of Linden Forbes Burnham called it, cooperatives, thus giving pieces of land to individuals and/or groups so that they could have done their agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry, and even cottage industries, such as making jams and jellies. Making fudge, plantain chips, cassava chips, and even breadfruit chips (what seemed to be the favorite products of former President David Granger). All of these could have become very small cottage industries or operating from bottom houses or back yards. And, better yet, the then government could have given them little bits of inputs instead of causing them to beg, commit suicide, cry, lament, and make them unable to feed their children by humiliating them to be like panhandlers or beggars for their rights to receive their gratuity. It is humiliating that even though for hundreds of years of slavery and indentureship our ancestors had to face, our generation, in the previous government, were put through such challenges. It is the most contemptible insult to the bones of our ancestors for not having no regard for their descendants in the industry.

Unfortunately, bereft of vision and wisdom they came with all kinds of scenarios to tell people sugar was a loss. Whatever is spent from our treasury to keep sugar alive is an investment in tens of thousands of lives and even, in totality, of our nation.

I wrote more than once to the former President and open letters in the media advising them to create other industries that could work along with sugar to make the sugar estates more viable and productive: for example, cattle, goat, sheep, large scale poultry production, processing, canning of meats, fishing using the magnificent stream of canals to grow hassar or tilapia for frozen exports and sales to the nations and neighboring countries. But like I said, industry and business are not in the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of all people. Some are made for the military, law enforcement, service to the nation in agencies of governments financed by the people. Business has to bubble in the hearts of the people, in their blood, and in their soul. It has to exist in their breath, it has to flow from the energy of their existence. Only an entrepreneur can understand what I am saying or one who can understand that you can feel the power of success in business and industry through your breath and that you can taste it even with the tip of your tongue. Unfortunately, some people are not born for this. Of course, God created different people for different things so that civilization may continue and survive with the various occupations and skills. That is the vision of the ultimate Creator, the one Lord, God of the world. Man must not think he is smarter or better and try to interfere with God’s scheme of plans. In doing this, he may wreak destruction, pandemonium, confusion, and failure.

Let us remember that we as Guyanese are one human family under God and, we, as a people must not allow political ambitions to lead us astray to cause us to hate, hurt or deny each other opportunities and facilities.