THE recent attack on Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo questioning his working- class credentials will not be taken seriously and will be seen for what it is–politicking. Moses has impeccable working-class credentials unmatched by any other lawyer or political leader.Politicians go on ad nauseam about their humble beginnings and how much they grounded with or fought on behalf of the working class. But few of them actually care for or are compassionate about the poor and the working class.
Moses is a rare exception. Moses has been a grassroots activist (among working people and the dispossessed) since at a young age out of high school. That is how I got to know of him before he made the move from Corentyne to Georgetown. He grounded with the poor and those of us from rural communities fighting racial persecution.
Moses comes from strong working- class stock (fishing, farming and sugar) and few in the current PPP have championed the cause of sugar workers more than him. He fought and advocated for the working class – sugar workers, farmers, fishermen, etc. He had an unmatched breadth of appeal among working people. That is why he was able to win so much support among sugar workers in 2011 on behalf of the AFC, resulting in the PPP losing its majority in parliament.
While in the PPP I do not think Moses ever missed any of GAWU’s national meetings. He was present at those I attended as a visitor. Moses has written a lot about the struggles of the poor Indians working class. In addition, as a lawyer, Moses performed almost pro bono work for countless working- class people, including sugar workers and farmers. They placed their faith and trust in him and they admired him for his integrity and commitment to them. Moses never betrayed the working class while he was with the PPP. Critics will have a stronger case criticising his silence on the recent firing of workers on account of their race and political affiliation.
Moses struggled like all of us from the countryside to make ends meet when we had to combat victimisation. I refuse to believe he is no longer concerned with the poor or the working class. I do not think Moses will want sugar to collapse. And I believe he will want to empower the sugar workers by giving them control over the industry. Instead of seeking to ostracise him from the sugar workers, opposition politicians should find a way to work with him to rescue the sugar industry to prevent the workers and their families from landing on the breadline.