FITUG in a release on Friday said it noted with “deep concern” Granger’s utterances on sugar, GuyOil and the state-media. It added that while it respected the views of all candidates it also defends its right to disagree with those views.
“Mr. Granger’s declared intention and policy of economic reform seems to be synonymous with the Washington Consensus which is so much discredited today and is wreaking havoc especially to the millions of ordinary people throughout the world.
FITUG, a highly concerned stakeholder, feels constrained to react to Granger’s declaration. We first wonder whether this is the position of the Party – the PNC/R – or it is the preserve of the Brigadier-Candidate,” the release stated.
According to FITUG, sugar workers on May Day marched with placards proclaiming “NO TO PRIVATISATION OF THE SUGAR INDUSTRY”.
“This typifies the feelings of the industry’s workers. At least at this stage, FITUG and those workers realize that it was their toils and sweat which kept the sugar industry alive enough to be the lynchpin of the national economy for decades. Sugar is the foreign exchange earner of consistent significance and the major contributor to our Gross Domestic Product,” it continued.
The body recalled the experience of the “near catastrophic” failure under the Booker-Tate management team in the later years of its contract adding that this signaled that privatization of sugar must attract wide-spread stakeholder consultation at the appropriate time.
FITUG posited that privatization must not be purely an “election-mode issue or football” since one-fifth of Guyana’s population was dependent on the sugar industry daily.
“FITUG wonders whether candidate Granger’s policy of privatization will take into account the socio-economic dislocation, the profit-oriented, private-sector employers would cause when those owners implement cost-cutting, widespread closure of cultivations, redundancy of workers, etc. Had sugar been privatized during Hoyte’s period, the socio-economic dislocation of large numbers of wage earners would have been disastrous. So would be the consequences today.”
FITUG said it “vehemently abhors” this policy of privatization and “suggests strongly” that the PNCR candidate reviews his position with respect to sugar at this stage.