Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Sugar’s downward spiral and rural decay

Published:Thursday | July 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

How men organise to produce the means of their subsistence constitutes the fundamental relations of society, says Karl Marx. In the context of the macroeconomy, the sugar industry is one of the movers and shakers of the economy; notwithstanding the formidable challenges, it plays a major role in the rural economy, hence its decline has resulted in depressing and dying rural communities. We have to build a nation of equity, hence I am taken aback at the complacent and laid-back posture of the government.

The vast social consequence could be devastating to stability.

The deepening of rural poverty is the construct of the policymakers from time immemorial, which results in rural to urban migration. With the instructive fact that rural poverty is twice that of urban Jamaica the paralysis entrenched notion is that Kingston is Jamaica. It is enlightening that esteemed professor of criminology of the University of the West Indies, Dr Bernard Headley, posited that sugar's downward spiral of the 1960s caused mass migration to the urban areas. Expansively, he said inequality in the urban context is a form of structural violence which triggers the more reactionary violence. All things are connected.

 

A MASTER PLAN

 

Fast-forward to 2017. All the infrastructural and social interventions are critical imperatives to engender and underscore the cornerstone of constitutional guarantee of peace, law and order and good governance. It is compulsory then, especially as it relates to the sugar industry, that Karl Samuda lay a master plan for the sugar industry, to complement land reform, reignite rural towns (the Urban Development Corporation) UDC Rural Township Development Programme, The South Coast Tourism Master Plan, a comprehensive drainage plan, the tourism linkage council, just to name a few.

No commentary on the sugar industry would be complete without the transparency of the divestment of the Frome Sugar Factory to Complant, especially from the perspective of the long, nasty infested sore, the pollution of the Westmoreland Dutch canal. As Negril is a gem for Jamaica, we must jealously defend and protect it in the strategies of sustainable development.

I suggest that Karl Samuda introduce a private member's motion about this important national matter of the sugar industry.

Frank L. R. Manborde

Chairman, Little London and Paul Island Community

Development Council