Where there is no vision the people suffer. Where there is no principle, the people collapse.
The propagandists for the State’s current heavy gas-based industrial drive, which includes proposals to build two aluminum smelters in the South Western Peninsula and a Steel mill in Claxton Bay, have alleged that the opponents of these smelter and steel plants are against industrialization. There is nothing further from the truth. Industrialization is one of the vital keys to economic progress. Industrialization is the principle of applying technology to common stocks of resources to generate wealth. Industrialization manipulates stocks of wealth – water, soil, forests, land, rivers, crops, minerals, finance, artificial infrastructure, human managerial skill and technical competence etc – to generate common wealth.
Will these smelter and steel mill deals do this? The answer is no.
1. Smelters, and the Essar Steel mill in Claxton Bay, would consume more stocks of wealth than they would generate. They would convert stocks of wealth and resources from the common ownership to ownership by a few - a few professionals in the oil, gas and parliamentary sectors, and a couple of global corporations.
2. Additionally, these smelter and steel deals, as presently configured, will commit industri-cide.
Here are five ways in which the present smelter and steel mill agenda will commit industri-cide.
1.In 2002, a University of the West Indies report recommended to the State an industrial plan based on the generation of wealth from the lands, the technical resources, the infrastructure of Caroni (1975) Ltd., which was about to be closed. It recommended a network of infrastructure on the newly opened 77,000 acres of land which would generate industries in food, pharmaceuticals, forestry, tourism, fuels and water. This vision entailed the creation of a platform for development in a nation which has been reeling from the shock of land and human resource degradation over the past 50 years. The platform would create a model, an impetus for development in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. This plan was rejected in favor of smelter and steel.
2. The stocks of food and fresh water in the world are fast diminishing. India, for example, which achieved national self-sufficiency in milk and grains in the last twenty years, has run out of arable lands. Trade agreements like NAFTA have eliminated tariffs on food; it has wrecked Mexico’s capacity to produce indigenous food, and swamped its market with Euro-American foods. Big food producers from nations with large land resources, like Brazil, Australia, Argentina and the United States will increasingly monopolize the world food market. Small food producers and farms will be agglomerated if not protected by wit and ingenuity. Instead of getting into fresh water industrial infrastructure for agriculture and food, we are getting into water for smelter and steel. The State destroyed three dams in Vessigny to make way for smelter. What it needed to do was to create a Food Industrial Park at Vessigny to make use of this water and of the millions of tons of protein, vitamin and sucrose stocks which the Peninsula is capable of producing. Fresh water and food industries are facing hydro-cide and agri-cide.
3. The planet has reached it peak in gas production. Increasing international demand for this nervous commodity will accelerate the rate of depletion. Wars and wars of words in Iraq, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and the United State’s Mobil Oil threaten to escalate oil and gas prices. Instead of using projected gas reserves to bolster already existing gas consuming industries, we are going for gas guzzling smelter and steel. If we allow steel and smelter to continue, the local heavy gas-based industrial sectors and the manufacturing sector will have less gas. This will lead to increased cost of gas and electricity for all. Smelter and steel will bleed some existing industries to an anemic whiteness.
4. The obsessive focus on gas and oil has robbed the nation of the opportunity to invest in energy alternatives. The indiscriminate purchase of Foreign Direct Investment, for a nation once relatively rich in oil and gas, is a lazy-government phenomenon. It is so easy to contract investors, draw up estates on the West Coast and collect taxes. It is a way of transferring work from a lapsing tropical economy to an industrious temperate one, a form of self re-colonization through laziness. To develop energy alternatives requires work. It requires a little industry. Instead of building windmill farms on the round hills of Claxton Bay, we would shave them flat, compact them, to grant to Essar Steel Mill. We would rather sap our energy reserves; impair our communities with steel dust, than create more energy from our natural resources of land, sun, wave and wind.
5. It is important to remind ourselves that natural habitats are industrial complexes. Habitats generate billions of tons of oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. More specifically, the mangroves of Claxton Bay are of historic value. They have added hundreds of tons of protein stocks – crab, shrimp, conch, mook, fish, and crayfish – to our subsistence economy. Our subsistence economy – the economy of those who live on part-time work, unreliable incomes, and negligible produce from the land – is a large one in this Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Why should we destroy this form of subsistence industry for Essar Steel?
Where there is no vision the people suffer.
Where there is no principle, the people collapse.
Industri-cide is just as destructive to the peoples, the lands and communities, as fratricide, infanticide, matricide, patricide, genocide.
Extracted from an article by
(Used with his permission)