The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has expressed concerns about the impending closure of several sugar estates as implied by President David Granger during an event hosted at the weekend.
The Head of State during his opening remarks at the Region Five Exposition and Trade Fair on Saturday (April 15, 2017), noted that the sugar industry has been contracting, but his administration is working to preserve the industry. “That is why there’ll be a Blairmont, that is why there is going to be an Albion, and we’ll preserve as many of our plantations and Estate as possible. Uitvlugt will remain,” the President said.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Union noted that the utterances of President “therefore, is yet another indication, in our view, that the Administration has embraced the plan of the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) to close Rose Hall and Enmore Estates and to divest Skeldon Estate.” It added that the decision on sugar, taking into account the closure of Wales Estate, “will see some 9,000 workers being thrown onto the breadline. Thousands more who depend on the workers whether as dependents or as goods and service providers will also be harshly affected.”
The Union said the President’s announcement is also a departure from previous commitments by other high-ranking officials of the Administration.
“It is saddening that the Administration has taken this course and has chosen to shun the credible advice it has been receiving on ways to turnaround and safeguard the industry. Moreover, when the alternative presented by GuySuCo is filled with so many holes and questions it is doubly worrying for our Union,” it said.
GAWU said the Government’s approach brings into question its professed sincerity to the thousands dependent on its operations and embracing positions to safeguard and enhance the life and work conditions of the working-people.