Sugar workers sacking politically, racially motivated- Jagdeo; President’s Office: race-baiting is PPP’s “essential plank”

Bharrat Jagdeo

Urging sacked sugar workers to get registered in the right districts to vote for the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) at the 2020 general election, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo accused the David Granger-led administration of sending them home because of racial and political reasons.

Addressing hundreds of workers at Enterprise Community Centre, East Coast Demerara,  Jagdeo said government’s decision to make the 4,763 sugar workers redundant, which would adversely impact on at least 30,000 persons, was aimed at forcing a section of the PPP’s East Indian support base to leave Guyana. 

In a swift response on Wednesday, the Ministry of the Presidency slammed Jagdeo, saying that his  remarks proved who is racist. “These remarks, if they were indeed made by the Opposition Leader, clearly shows who is the racist.

Fueling racial animosity and fear has been an essential plank in the PPP’s platform. For this A Partnership for National National Unity remains the basis of social cohesion. All forms of racism must be eliminated from public life,” presidential spokesman, Mark Archer told Demerara Waves Online News.

“They want us to lose hope to give up on this country; the people who work in the sugar industry, who form the base of the PPP, they will just migrate, give up in life and they will succeed in the future, they will change the demographics of this country,” he said. Jagdeo urged his party faithful not to despair because that would pave the way for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and Granger to succeed.

The former Guyanese leader also pointed to a United States diplomatic cable on June 27, 1974 released by Wikilkeks that had characterised Granger, a then major of the Guyana Defence Force, as an anti-East Indian racist to contend that the sugar workers were sent home for racially motivated reasons.

“A few years ago in the 1970s, an American Ambassador did an assessment of Granger and it was revealed in the Wikileaks and he pointed out that Granger, this was revealed, was racist in orientation and I can’t find any other reason, outside of the fact that they want people to migrate and to change the voting pattern, to explain this callous act- sending home over seven thousand workers, except it’s an act of racism,” Jagdeo said.

He further contended that his reasoning was partly rooted in the spending of GY$2 billion annually on an electricity subsidy for Region 10 (Linden) in contrast to one percent of Guyana’s budget that was required to keep the sugar industry open.

After the privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper about two years ago had published the contents of that Wikileaks Cable, the Granger-led People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) had stoutly rejected the then American diplomats assessment at that time. “President Granger’s personal life and his life works clearly debunks this malicious and unfounded claim. The PNCR questions the wisdom of the publication of this dated US Diplomatic Cable without a right of reply or any other supporting evidence.”

The Opposition Leader and PPP General Secretary noted that at the May 2015 general elections, at least 15,000 of his party’s supporters had not voted and the APNU+AFC coalition won those polls by just under 5,000 votes. Against that background, he called on the sugar workers to take steps to ensure that they are not only registered but that they do so in the districts where they have to vote. “I know people have to feed their families, some go off and migrate and come back,  stay on the list. Stay on the voters’ list; we can’t let them succeed,” he said.

He also warned that if the 2020 general elections are rigged, “we are not going to take it lying down like in the past”. “The biggest concern among most people here is that they know we have the support to win the next election but they are worried about the stealing, given the nature of these people, but if they steal the elections or they attempt to steal the elections, we will not be sitting down because we will be fighting an illegitimate government and any form of struggle, any form of struggle, would have to be waged because this is not like in the past,” he said.

Meanwhile, he promised sugar workers to mobilise some funds from private contributors to help support them while they are unemployed but noted that the chances are slim because of the economic downturn.

He also restated that if the PPPC returns to office, they would receive a monthly stipend. “If we can do it for Linden and we can do it for other places, then we can definitely do it for the sugar workers,” he said.

The National Assembly last week approved GY$1.9 billion to pay severance to the dismissed sugar workers. Those eligible for GY$500 million or less would receive their payments in full this month-end and the other will receive 50 percent this month and the remainder on or before December 31, 2018.

The Guyana government has repeatedly justified the closure of the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s Skeldon, Rose Hall, Wales and Enmore (East Demerara) estates because the national treasury could no longer afford to bail out the ailing entity at an average of GY$1 billion monthly.

The United Kingdom-headquartered PriceWaterhouse Coopers has has been hired by government to valuate those now closed estates to prepare them for sale.

The privately-owned Nandkumar Rice Mills is interested in taking over Skeldon and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) wants to purchase Enmore to produce molasses for its booming rum industry.

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  • Linda  On 01/25/2018 at 7:42 am

    Jagdeo is fighting for his party’s life here. He’ll do and say anything to undermine the current administration. He’s been disruptive at every turn. Case in point the latest fiasco in Parliament with Edgehill. Not being a racist here but Jagdeo calling the kettle black while forgetting how black people were treated in Guyana during his reign of terror. Who ended up with the best jobs in government and the private sector???? Who were the people that scrounged and struggled for 22 years of PPP reign. If East Indians leave Guyana it will be for one reason….they can no longer get rich at the expense of the black man because their man is no longer in charge.

    • Ali  On 01/25/2018 at 11:22 am

      Guyana is an example of a shithole country. So much hatred between the races. A house divided cannot stand.

      I wonder if oil money will make a difference. So they can start cleaning up all that poo and make the place attractive for a change.

  • Linda  On 01/26/2018 at 7:05 am

    Ali you should visit Georgetown and see what it looks like today compared to when the PPP held the government. You have to creep before you walk and you cannot undo 22 years of neglect in just 3 years but this government is well on its way to improving many areas of the country. All Guyanese must want what’s best for Guyana in order for the country to move forward and as such vote in a government that is for all the people not just a particular race. This current government and its Civil Service include several members of East Indian descent. How many black persons were there during the PPP governance???

  • Denise  On 01/26/2018 at 10:32 am

    @Ali. You should be ashamed of yourself for calling “your” country a Shit Hole. Guyana does not need people like you.. If you want to talk Shit Hole, just turn your attention to India….now that’s a Shit Hole but even so you don’t ever see Indians talking bad about their country.

    • Ali  On 01/26/2018 at 11:43 am

      What does India have to do with this? Grow up.

  • Linda  On 01/26/2018 at 2:20 pm

    What does India have to do with this? That is where most of your people came from and is still the culture practiced in Guyana. East Indians have never embraced the true culture of Guyana and have always set themselves apart from the other 5 races of people. India was a shit hole country from the day of your forefathers and remain so today. Maybe that’s why you’re so good at identifying shit hole countries. Don’t pull the race card on me if that’s all you’ve got. Try a bit of truth and intelligence in your remarks.

    • Ali  On 01/26/2018 at 3:25 pm

      “Don’t pull the race card on me”

      You’re the one who brings race into the conversation. Show where I ever belittled anyone because of race. Anyone who lowers himself/ herself to this level is the one who lacks intelligence. You have no credibility.

  • Gigi  On 01/26/2018 at 6:14 pm

    Ali, you’r right Guyana is a S***HOLE!!! @ Linda and Denise, it might be convenient for you to forget that even when the PPP was in power Georgetown was still run by the PNC in addition, the majority of those living in GT are PNC supporters hence Gtown cannot help but be a S***HOLE and will forever remain a S***HOLE with this makeup. Always was and always will! FACT. This govt didn’t spend money to clean up GT, it was private businesses that did for political gain. I guess it was a was a one time move and now things are back to normal in the S***HOLE capital of Guyana and the wider Caribbean.

    Jagdeo calling the the kettle black? Jagdeo is speaking the TRUTH! Blacks do not own the right to play the race card AND discriminate against other races. The PNC/APNU has always been and will always remain a black racist party. The PPP under Jagdeo finally figured it out. Jagan, may he finally rest in peace, was always willing to play nice even when Indo Guyanese were being raped and slaughtered mercilessly! He was no match for the racist PNC. Jaagdeo is the right man to stand up to racist PNC/APNU! Jagdeo IS OUR CHAMPION AND SAVIOR WHO WILL BE REMEMBERED IN PERPETUITY. LONG MAY HE LIVE AND REPRESENT US!

    • Ali  On 01/27/2018 at 8:15 pm

      Some complainers conveniently forget how the corrupt PNC ran Guyana into the ground during their three decade long dictatorship. I say Guyana has never had competent governments. Maybe it will come to pass one day. Let’s hope that day isn’t too far away. The potential is there to put corrupt politicians and choke and robbers out of business forever. There is also hope to clean up the big mess in the country and to clear out that foul smell in GT.

  • Gigi  On 01/26/2018 at 6:20 pm

    @ Linda, you might want to take the log out of your eyes before pointing to the speck in others, then you’ll see the difference in what makes for a S***HOLE country! And Guyana is a S***HOLE country. Maybe we ought to join forces and push for a two-state solution. Then we can compare what makes for a S***HOLE country.

  • Tata  On 01/26/2018 at 9:30 pm

    Bravo Linda and Denise! This is what Donald Trump talks about,

    This is the land that gave birth to US.
    We will defend.
    This is ALL we know. 🇬🇾🇬🇾

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On 01/27/2018 at 1:39 pm

    “If you want to talk Shit Hole, just turn your attention to India….now that’s a Shit Hole..”
    “India was a shit hole country from the day of your forefathers and remain so today…”

    Having read the above I decided that the opinions were due to extreme ignorance and so I avoided commenting, not wanting to get daubed by same brush. Then, I felt as part of my sworn “svadharma” (my sworn duty) to throw light – enlightenment – where possible I should delve in.

    So, here is one Guyanese-born “Black” woman’s (from a prominent family – I worked in same ministry with her mom) story about her affection/respect for ‘SH’ India. Note that her father was close to the ‘SH-originated’, Cheddi Jagan.
    “My father was a sworn Marxist; he was close to the country’s very rebellious Opposition Leader and on-again-off-again Prime Minister/President, Cheddi Jagan.”

    More excerpts from the Accidental [Black] Hindu:

    “One day [in Guyana] I found there a book about Ramana Maharshi, then completely unknown in the West (and not to be confused with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles’ guru). When I read it, I just knew. I wrote to the ashram in India and asked for a photo (the one in the book had been torn out) and when it arrived I simply burst into tears. I knew I had to go to India.
    “I left about a year later, aged 22. I didn’t have much money so I went overland, through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. An amazing trip, but nothing interested me except getting to the destination.

    “And the ashram is run in the same manner [Oneness]. I WAS NEVER GIVEN ANY SENSE OF BEING DIFFERENT THERE, even though, when I first came, I must have looked strange as I had this huge Afro hairstyle. But I was always welcome. Many Indians have told me that I have a Hindu soul and must have been a Hindu in my last life. It certainly feels that way. My race and background is no more than an externality;”

    Extract from Guyanese Sharon Westmaas’ blog on Sons of God.
    “Isn’t it presumptuous for you, a non-Hindu, to attempt to rewrite a classic Hindu epic?

    “I may not be a Hindu by birth, but I am definitely one in spirit. In my youth I was extremely unsettled and insecure, and could not find my bearings at all in the Western world. It was after I discovered Yoga at the age of 18, and went on to read the works of venerable Hindu teachers such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna, and Ramana Maharshi that I finally became alive and found my roots. So much so that I travelled overland to India at the age of 23 — with very little money and no intention of ever returning to the West — and lived in a traditional and very well respected Ashram for 18 months. I return there at regular intervals, at present annually. “

    So, enthused Sharon was about the great ‘SH’ epic that she spent over 30 years to rewrite her own simplified version (her “secret baby”).

    Except from GuyaneseOnline:
    Sons of Gods – New Novel by Sharon Westmaas
    When Guyanese novelist Sharon Westmaas took an unofficial poll among her Western friends, she discovered that not one of them had read the great epic Mahabharata. It was then that she decided: the time was right to self-publish Sons of Gods—the “secret baby” she had been nourishing for over 30 years—as an e-book.


  • Jenny  On 01/27/2018 at 11:21 pm

    @Veda Nath Mobabir



  • Ravi  On 01/27/2018 at 11:27 pm

    @ Jenny

    HOLEY SHIT!!!!

  • Veda Nath Mohabir  On 01/28/2018 at 12:52 am

    It seems you only got the dirt, garbage on streets etc., in the video, whereas, the emphasis of the Indian presenter is how easy it is to make change – which change, collectives of individual Indians in each case were able to achieve.

    I don’t know if you were in or visited Gtown during the PPPc gov’t. A walk down Regent St – the main thoroughfare – was like walking in before-cleanedup Bangalore. But, who ran GT? Mayor HAMILTON GREEN! Not the PPPc.
    As soon as PNC/APNU Granger squeaked into power, immediately, in a matter of days, a massive cleanup took place.
    What it shows is that PNC Hamilton Green was sabotaging the PPPC by keeping GT dirty and decrepit. Foreigners and visitors would immediately blame the PPPC without understanding whose responsibility it was/is to maintain GT. In fact, the campaign against the PPPC was so relentless that numerous videos were being circulated when the PPPC was in power to give the impression that GT’s dirt and garbage was the PPPC problem.

    Look at New York compared to any Canadian city. First thing that struck me about NY in 1970 and ever since is the amount of dirt, garbage, broken streets and sidewalks and graffitti all over the place, and virtually every car had a dent on it. Then there is Africa. There is a big problem with plastic bags, among other things in sewers. In a BBC report a few months ago residents in at least one city were defecating in bags and throwing them out in said dumps.

    In this report, unlike India where cleanup is voluntary, “Lagos police officers armed with big sticks make sure residents fulfill their legal duty and clean up their neighborhoods for ‘Sanitation Day.”

    So, don’t dump (excuse the pun) on India because a straight-talking Indian decides to ‘wash his linen in the open’. Look around the world. At least in the Indian case, the people are doing something about it.

    Also, it were so bad, Sharon Westmaas wouldn’t have lived there and annually visit there for the last 38 years; and plans to retire there.


  • Jenny  On 01/28/2018 at 7:35 am

    Good for Sharon Westmass. After years of viewing filth one becomes accustomed.

  • VEDA NATH MOHABIR  On 01/28/2018 at 9:20 am

    There is a fellow, Paul Roberts, whom Sharon featured in her blog on theMahabharata. Roberts was born English, moved to Canada but traveled to India from the 70s to early 90s over 20x. He wrote a book on these travels called The Empire of The Soul. Yes, India has SOU!. Roberts disclosed at the beginning of the book that India is the only country where on landing he knelt down and kissed the Tarmac!.

    There there is Felicia Rashad, also a Black Hindu since the 70s. On first visit to India, she said to her self ‘don’t I know this place?’ So comfortable she felt in India.
    Then,there are the legendary Beatles. They spent 6 mos in India during which time they were the most creatively prolific
    , composing over 40 songs.

    These people don’t focus on dirt as you do, Jenny, they see SOUL in Mother India!


  • VEDA NATH MOHABIR  On 01/28/2018 at 9:37 am

    Forgot to mention. Sharon is not planning to retire in her native Guyana, even under “God gave us this blessed day” Granger. Rather she is going to an alien but adopted country, India. What does it say of Guyana vis a vis India?

  • Jenny  On 01/28/2018 at 11:28 am

    I’m so delighted for her as you must be.

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