DESTROYING Guyana Sugar Company IS ALL ABOUT BREAKING THE PPP POLITICAL BASE
Photo : Sugar cane workers protest the closure of Guysuco
The PNC's shutting down of Guyana sugar industry is more centered around destroying the PPP political base than their posture or concern for its economic viability and production capability. The WPA's Dr Clive Thomas as head of Guysuco has proven that he is more fixated on race than economics. Advertising Skeldon estate is for sale but threatening to shut down Enmore, Rose Hall and Uitvlugt without putting Wales up for sale is not good monetary policy. The fact is Skeldon is still a viable sugar estate and gets a significant amount of its cane from private cane farmers. The APNU-AFC coalition has instead decided to sell Skeldon even though its economic prospects are far better than any sugar estate.
destroying Guysuco in the long run will make it difficult for Guyanese to feed themselves and all will surely starve when agriculture is eventually destroyed. Once sugar workers move out from agriculture they are not moving back into that vocation. The PNC touting that Guyana will be the bread basket of the Caribbean is just a pipe dream and not based on Guyana's future agriculture prospects. PNC supporters are not agriculturists as they are massed in the civil service and armed forces where life is just a 9 to 5 job. With guaranteed salaries and no product to eat or sell for foreign exchange how will they survive a food crisis when PPP supporters stop producing food?
Note how Trinidad's 'Black’- based PNM government under the late Prime Minister Patrick Manning sort and did break UNC' Indian'-party with its base in the Caroni sugar workers union. The PNM successfully shut down the sugar industry and destabilized the Indian-based UNC's sugar workers.
The PNM used the same argument that Caroni sugar-cane company with its largely Indian workers was being subsidized by the state when they moved to shut it down. The irony was the Trinidad oil company Petrotrin and the steel mill with mostly African workers were also getting state subsidy but the PNM did not move to shut them down. Obviously, the PNC-led coalition is using the State subsidy argument to kill the PPP's sugar workers’ base and destabilize the PPP opposition party.
Today the UNC has an Indian base only. On the other hand the PNM party has a compact Black base and a strong union base in the oil field workers from which it draws succour.
The advantage of any union-based party is having available foot soldiers who just follow orders. It is much easier to organize them against your competitors. Understandably, while a race-based party can survive, its members have to be convinced to be responsive to calls for a particular cause or react to unfolding political events.
In Guyana the union's call for industrial strikes are more butter and bread issues, while a race based party is more broader than butter and bread. Race base is about economic, culture and other social matters.
No one seriously expects the TUC of Lincoln Lewis to show trade union solidarity with sugar workers which threatens a' Black' based PNC government. The Black-based trade union movement has long lost their testicular fortitude to even champion their own causes.
Conclusively in Guyana the breaking of GUYSUCO is one of the key factors of defeating the PPP party and keeping it out of political power. The PPP most likely will not have a single rapid response base to rely on that will take orders on quick notice.
On the other hand the PNC controls several Guyanese unions and the country's predominantly Black-based military which readily respond (like a union) from central command of the PNC.
What must the PPP do to survive and save itself and Guyana? The PPP has to be able to reorganize the Guysuco sugar workers before they are either demoralized by the PNC leadership or get co-opted by the Granger-led government.
Accepting that laying off 10 thousand sugar workers in Guyana is more about breaking the PPP base than otherwise has to do with Guysuco's economic viability makes it easier to mobilize the Guyanese workers.
.PPP has to find a way by increasing its sugar and rice belt agitations to keep
their supporters and keep its union base intact to win the next free and fair elections in 2020.
However there seems to be a split in the top leadership of the PPP with those in charge of the top political structure not synchronised with the union base in their response to the challenges ahead.
Admittedly the PPP is likely to be heading for rough seas in the coming years. But agitating that sugar workers get Guysuco's lands is the best way to go.