Business persons join protest against Gov’t’s plans for Sugar industry
Approximately 2,000 persons turned up to a march organised by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) yesterday (June 06, 2017) at Skeldon to protest the Administration’s plans for the sugar industry.
The union believes that “the powers-that-be cannot ignore the people’s strong disagreement with the floated plans for sugar which would bring severe hardships and difficulties for thousands and upset scores of communities, as is the case at Wales now.”
The march which consisted of primarily sugar workers was also joined by others from various sectors of the Skeldon community.
The vendors of the Skeldon market also joined in the protest where they related that they are currently being faced with hardships from declining sales and it will only get worse with the impending sale of the Skeldon Sugar Estate.
Some stores in Corriverton also closed their doors as they stood in solidarity with workers of Skeldon. Also expressing solidarity was Mayor of Corriverton.
The march was about a mile and a half long and moved off from outside of the Administrative Offices of Skeldon Estate along the Public Road to the vicinity of the Springlands NIS office and then to the Republic Square where it culminated.
Protestors were heard chanting “No Sellout, No Closure”.
At the Republic Square the marchers were addressed Chairman of Region Six, David Armogan; Member of Parliament, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo; GAWU Executive Committee member, Gordon Thomas; GAWU Assistant General Secretary, Aslim Singh; GAWU General Secretary, Seepaul Narine; Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA) General Secretary, Dharamkumar Seeraj, and GAWU President, Komal Chand.
The various speakers expressed the view that “wool was being pulled over our eyes with regards to Skeldon.”
GAWU President highlighted that on one hand, the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) and the State are saying that the new Skeldon factory is a “ticking time bomb” but, on the other hand, ready interest is being expressed by investors.
Skeldon Estate, the GAWU holds, is an important element to GuySuCo’s success and viability.
The Union also pointed to the recent action taken by the Speaker of the National Assembly to disallow the hosting of public forums on the way forward for the sugar industry. The forum was scheduled to be hosted by the Economic Services Committee at different locations.
GAWU is calling on the Government and GuySuCo to listen to the people and not to pursue its proposed plans.