LET’s venture into something different in this letter column. We will play an interesting game with fascinating results, of medicine and economics. The readers are also invited to indulge. Shall we begin with the medical aspect?
Just place yourself in the place of a doctor, not a honorary one like Jagdeo, a proper doctor. Today, on ward rounds, you saw a patient who has poorly controlled diabetes due to a severe infection of his left leg, that is intractable to powerful antibiotics. In a sensitive and empathetic way, you broke the bad news to him that his left leg needs to be urgently amputated. The patient flatly said NO and after a week of having a discussion him, along and providing second and third opinions, he is adamant that he will not have his left leg removed. He then packed his bag and took discharge against medical advice, promising never to return. What do you think is the likely outcome for this patient?
A: He will get better with time.
B: His left leg will get worse and ultimately drop off (auto-amputation)
C: The infection will only spread to his right leg and both arms.
D: He will die from a severe blood infection (sepsis)
It is obvious what will happen. This unfortunate gentleman would not only lose his left leg; he would lose his right leg, both arms, trunk and head. In effect, he will die, because against medical advice he tried to save his left leg.
Now, let’s examine the economic case. The sugar industry was mismanaged by the PPP for 23 years. This is not the opinion of the APNU+AFC government. This is the expert opinion of professionals who were called in to review the sugar industry. The EU who once gave us preferential treatment, no longer need our sugar. As a result the PPP Government was given a large financial compensation for the lost market. No one knows what they did with the monies. Bharrat Jagdeo, the then President, invested $US 200M in the Skeldon sugar estate. This among other economic misadventures resulted in the severely damaged sugar industry. In essence, the sugar industry was operating at a massive loss, but Jagdeo continued to pump money into a failing industry, which economically, was very irrational. Now my question.
What would have been the likely outcome, if the APNU+AFC Government had not closed the failing sugar estates, compensated the redundant employees and find alternative employment for others?
A: The failing sugar estates would have been financially viable with time.
B: The failing estates would remain unviable, but it would not affect other estates.
C: If not addressed, the estates would have affected other estates financially.
D: If not addressed, the failing estates would have caused other industries to fail and severely affect Guyana’s economy.
The likely outcome is as clear as day. Just like the severely infected leg, that the patient refused to have amputated resulted in his death, the failing sugar industry, if continued to be subsidised by the government, would ultimately severely destroy Guyana’s economy. The PPP was very much aware of this, aware that the sugar industry is on economic life support, but they continued to subsidise it and ultimately when the APNU+AFC came into power, they made the difficult decision of acting
in the interest of the country and a failing industry. Failings estates, unfortunately had to be closed to protect other estates and the country as a whole from the ‘economically contagious and deadly infection’ known as negative profits. This closing of the failing estates to save Guyana’s economy, is not dissimilar to amputating the leg to save a life. We also know that once this unfortunate patient died, he cannot be resurrected. The same can be said, for all intents and purposes, about the closed estates.As a result, Guyanese would be grateful if both Jagdeo and Ali can elaborate on how they plan on orchestrating the resuscitation, or rather re-opening, of these closed estates without negatively affecting the economy or directing oil royalties down an economic cul-de-sac.
Finally, Mr. Badal Persaud, presidential candidate of Change Guyana last week entered this sugary but politically bitter debate. He rationally argued that the closed sugar estates cannot be reopened because of practical and economic reasons. Jagdeo in response made a statement to the effect that, reopening the sugar estates is not financially viable, but economically viable. Let me be honest, not too many things discombobulate me but this economic viability googly by Jagdeo, had me mystified for quite a few days. Then, it dawned on me while I was driving. Under the indomitable control of endorphin-driven euphoria, I stopped in the middle of the busy road, exited the car, raised my hands and shouted like Archimedes, “EUREKA EUREKA.” Now with much vigour and elation, I can share with you the readers, the demystified Jagdeo’s literary mystery. Ready?
What Jagdeo was actually articulating in coded language, is that reopening the sugar estates is not financially viable but it is politically viable. This is the reason the PPP used the sugar workers as political pawns in the past and wish to once again hoodwink the unsuspecting sugar workers, to selfishly increase their slim chances of winning the 2020 elections. Sorry Jagdeo, you cannot reopen the estates you closed. Sorry you cannot reopen the estates the government rightfully closed. Sorry, cryptanalysis and many sleepless nights have deciphered your enigmatic press conference.
Well played Bharrat. Well played. I guess you thought with a dead Alan Turing, your code would have never been deciphered.
Dr Mark Devonish MBBS