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Poverty and sugar workers

Published:Wednesday | February 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM


EVERY NOW and then one of our leaders have what can only be described as a catharsis. Former Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies had his in 2003 at Meadowbrook High with his 'run wid it' utterance and now it is the turn of Dr Horace Chang in Trelawny.

Dr Chang links poverty with the sugar industry, which is undeniable, but he fails to tell us of the multiplicity of alternatives which we should have pursued.

In a world where terms like 'jobless growth' have become popular and dependence on government papers as a substitute for investment and economic development, the sugar industry has prospered. Our leaders, both political and civil society, have failed us.

We have been unable to successfully run Air Jamaica, whether in private or public sector hands. We have also struggled with sugar, banana and coffee. Ten cents of every dollar spent in tourism remains in Jamaica our bauxite sector is largely inefficient because of fuel costs and the type of ore we mine.

Dr Chang tells us 75 per cent of the occupants of infirmaries are sugar workers but, unless his government can offer extraordinary and exceptional leadership, we will need to build more infirmaries and prisons, and not only for sugar workers, but for former bauxite, banana and hotel workers.

I am, etc.,

Mark Clarke