GUYANA HISTORY NOTEBOOK
Compiled by Odeen Ishmael

 

(Thunder, 6 August 1960)

THE PROFITS OF BOOKERS

The announcement was recently made that Booker Bros. McConnell & Co. Ltd., the London
holding company with operations concentrated in the British Colonial Empire (British Guiana, the West Indies, Central Africa) had made in 1959 the huge net trading profit of some $6 million after taxes. This was an increase of nearly $1.3 million over the previous year's trading profit. I n addition, there was a net capital profit of a little more than $769,000 in 1959.
It is interesting to note that the trading profit of $6 million was arrived at after $867,000 was set aside for the increased replacement cost of land, buildings, plant, machinery, ships, etc.
The directors recommended that the total distribution to Ordinary shareholders should be some $2.3 million free of income tax for 1959. The Preference shareholders had already received
dividends for that year amounting to $105,840.
Unappropriated profits retained in the company at the end of 1959 amounted to $26.97 million, an increase of $3.73 million since December 31, 1958.
It should be pointed out that during the five year period, 1955 to 1959, countries outside the United Kingdom were responsible on the average for 77 percent of the profits of Bookers.
In their 1959 Report, the directors recommended that capital of the company be increased by $4,800,000 to $31,680,000, by the creation of 2 million new Ordinary shares of $2.40 each. Nearly half of the money required to pay for the two million new shares will come from the company's capital reserve. This will enable 954,018 fully paid up Ordinary shares to be issued to existing shareholders in the proportion of one snare for every ten held.
The increasing rate of profit of big business is nothing unusual in this age of technological progress and mechanisation, company unionism, and growing bureaucracy in the labour movement. All of these factors help to boost production and keep the cost of labour down. But constantly growing profits alone do not give the complete picture of intensified exploitation in a country such as this. Profits are only a part measure of such exploitation.
The other part of the picture, which appears blurred to so many, is the great disparity between the salaries paid to overseas and local managerial and other personnel, always in favour of the former. This is a point not generally appreciated, nor is the fact that the greater part of the bigger salaries of importees, like the profits, is taken out of the country.
The relationship between advanced and underdeveloped countries, whereby the former impose their political and economic domination upon the latter, is the basis of the phenomenon described as imperialism. Colonial and semi-colonial peoples are becoming increasingly conscious of the reasons for their unnecessary poverty and hunger, and no amount of smooth talk will convince
them that Britain has suddenly become a post imperial society.
Capitalist hypocrisy is as old as capitalism itself. Today it is a permanent feature of capitalist propaganda. We have been told by the Chairman of Bookers that the future of new nations depends on the development of their economic resources and that their governments must get money and help

from wherever they can, because Western private enterprise can never do enough. Yet the UK government, which still rules this country, has done everything possible to prevent the Majority Party from bringing disinterested economic aid and proper technical advice to a long suffering people on terms which no Western capitalist power can match

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