In his New Year’s Day message of 1974, Prime Minister Forbes Burnham announced the imposition of a special tax levy (called the sugar levy) to extract a portion of the huge profits that accrued to Bookers McConnell (Bookers) and the others in the plantocracy as a result of the high price for raw sugar on the world market. In 1975, this levy yielded over US$85 million for the Burnham regime. But Burnham wanted more than cash; he wanted control.
Two year after in May 1976 on the nation’s tenth anniversary of independence, Burnham made his move and Bookers was “nationalized and placed under the management of several state corporations run by Guyanese personnel” as highlighted by Professor Ralph R. Premdas.
DR LESLIE RAMSAMMY