The Sugar Debate is the greatest triumph of the New World Group to date. There is impasse now, but its writers have spelled out the issues hitherto muffled, and like a lightning flash which has found its target in the dark, the sequel has been the thunderous growls of irate Ministers and anxious investors.
The probe cut deeply, but the nation’s de-fence mechanisms are battling with some success to heal the breach. A bandage has been affixed, but will new tissues form. Or shall the breach be filled with on ugly scar. If it’s a scar then the New World Group will not escape condemnation, and with some justification. Though the time be right and the procedure be right, yet the instruments may be wrong. Their suggestions for change are tied to the acceptance of total systems which are extreme departures from the existing ones. Extreme, that is, not because they are far-fetched or unattainable, but because they are unattainable in the short term given the acceptable mechanisms for change. As a rule the techniques for change are either glossed over or are frankly drawn in harsh relief, as, for example, in the pamphlet on Unemployment. To one whose preference is gradualism this is quite unacceptable, and the most he can say is: by all means let us strive after these goals, but let us do so at a comfortable pace. Proposed changes must be discussed at length–the more important the change the greater the length-and they must come to pass in such a way that a sense of belongingness and historical continuity is preserved. Only thus can a society retain its vigour over long spans of time.
Instead of promoting total changes, therefore, the Group can make a perhaps even more vital contribution by ending its analyses and discussions with suggestions for changes in the micro-scale such as we are accustomed to and to which, therefore, we can easily adjust. They may not provoke rumblings and may not make the headlines, but they may achieve the desired goal.
Cedric Harold is a Computer analyst in the bursary at the University of the West Indies, Mona.