The attempt to pull down the sugar industry to advance one’s narrative should not be condoned

GTUC General Secretary, Mr. Lincoln Lewis, in a letter appearing in the June 02, 2021 Stabroek News titled “GWI must provide reasons why they cannot afford to keep these workers” in expressing his views regarding GWI’s decision to terminate workers has decided to take a swipe at the sugar industry for no apparent basis. This is a continuation of similar remarks Mr. Lewis has made about the industry as he seeks to find red herrings to justify his contentions. We acknowledge and respect Mr. Lewis’ advancement of solidarity with the affected workers. We too are disheartened by the GWI decision but we see no rhyme nor reason to use it at a launching pad to argue as the GTUC General Secretary does. His reference to the sugar industry appears to be the pursuit of some ethnic rationale. As a trade unionist, Mr. Lewis knows that genuine labour representatives do not apply lenses to germane workers issues. The GTUC General Secretary in justifying his stance shared that others held the sugar industry benefits from some unique, maybe favourable, treatment. We, unfortunately, do not harbour similar views and cannot agree with Mr. Lewis.

We hold that the industry is no different from other sectors which are similarly benefitting from state support to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. Yet it appears the sugar industry is scapegoated for no apparent reason other than to advance some warped perspective and possibly to engender ideas of divisiveness. Our Union holds that the support to the industry is not without good reason. Indeed, it is generally known, that the Granger Administration deliberately starved the industry of resources and in the process weakened it considerably. In such context it requires support towards its resuscitation. We have not been shy in expressing that we believe the industry has all possibilities for success. Certainly, given the opportunities available we ask rationally why they should not be pursued. Genuine leaders are not ostriches with their heads in the sand but they are rational thinkers who seek to advance development and well-being of their people. We do not believe we can ignore the varied and various contributions of the sugar industry. This is visible to the naked eye and does not warrant any extensive examination. Therefore, we find the apparent divisive attempts disturbing and disconcerting. The seeming attempt to pulldown the industry and by extension the thousands who depend on it to advance one’s narrative cannot and should not be condoned.

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