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PPP threatens mass protests if Gov’t closes more Estates

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The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has threatened mass protests across the ‘sugar belt’ if the APNU+AFC Government moves ahead with its plans to close more sugar estates and cultivations.

Comparing the impending protests to the ongoing movement against parking meters in the city, PPP Executive Member, Dr. Roger Luncheon said, “the same sentiment that has the protestors on the streets of Georgetown, will have protestors all across the sugar belt was this course of action to be continued.”

According to the workers’ Unions and the PPP, during its first meeting with the Government on the way forward for the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) in December 2016,  several ideas were floated among which is the closure of the Rose Hall Estate and some cultivations, as well as the sale of others Estates.

At today’s (Monday, February 20, 2017) Press Conference, Dr. Luncheon said “unquestionably, this will cause a confrontation. If we use one current example…and we use a feature of this government; no consultations, you see where it leads.”

The Union and the opposition were then given the opportunity to formulate plans and return to another meeting.

The final consultation in progress earlier today at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Boardroom

The second meeting was hosted on Friday, (February 17, 2017) at the Agriculture Ministry and the Guyana Agricultural and Workers’ Union (GAWU) has submitted its proposal document which was adopted by the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE). However, the PPP said it was not prepared to make its recommendations until the Government conducts and present a socio-economic study and an economic feasibility study. This was dubbed the final meeting on the matter.

At Monday’s Press Conference, Opposition Member Irfaan Ali who led the opposition’s team to the meeting, his party is not decided to make a decision unless there are firm grounds to prove its case.

“The most critical report in coming up with any option in relation to this industry is a social impact assessment study and an economic feasibility study. If you don’t have those reports, you don’t have the foundation on which you can come up with an option. Any option or any recommendation on the industry must be built on the pillar that is supported by a factual assessment” Ali said.

The Government at the end of 2016 closed the Wales Sugar Estate and merged its human and other resources with that of the Uitvlugt Estate.

Following Friday’s meeting, the government said it provided all documents, which were requested by the Unions and Opposition including the Memorandum of Understanding signed between GoInvest and D. Rampersaud and Company Limited (DRCL), GuySuCo’s Business Plan for the period 2017- 2025, Cost of Production for 2010-2025, Head Office component of Cost of Production 2010- 2025, Breakdown of Government Support requirement for years 2017-2025, List of Capital items by year and cost, Projected can yields and tonnes, Projected tillage and replanting by estates, Financial projections and GuySuCo Annual Reports, among others.

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