ALTERNATIVES FOR DSPLACED SUGAR WORKERS
Photo : Nowrang Persaud
Having been a member of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) which made some specific recommendations for the sugar industry over two years ago, I have naturally been reluctant to make any public comment on the industry or its employees nor the increasing numbers of suggestions/recommendations being publicly offered by various concerned individuals and organizations. But, the plight of the sugar workers being displaced continues with no apparent let-up in sight! It is in this context that I wish to suggest yet another approach that might be worth serious consideration.
It is the idea of ‘social credit’ pioneered by Nobel laureate, Muhammed Yunus, which goes even beyond the micro-credit system of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh that provides poor people with small loans to launch their own ‘businesses’. The idea is fully described in Dr Yunus’ book: “Creating a world without Poverty” and gives a practical example of how it was applied in ‘partnership with the business giant, Danone, ‘to produce affordable, nutritious yogurt for malnourished children of Bangladesh, a country that is not dissimilar to Guyana. (I had the privilege of living and working there and believe that Guyana’s IPED approach comes closest to this alternative).
I humbly commend its study and recommendations.