Rose Hall sugar workers urge Gov’t to reconsider closure
Sugar workers at the Rose Hall Estate are urging the Government to reconsider its decision to close the estate, outlining how this decision will negatively impact their lives, a release from the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) noted on Wednesday.
The Union held a press conference on Wednesday at its Berbice Office, in St Anns Street, New Amsterdam where sugar worker, Glen McLeod stated that the workers were told of the closure on October 13, 2017 “in a few short weeks.”
According to the Union, McLeod said he anticipated that with closure, there will be “uncertain times and many difficult, misery-filled days ahead,” noting that for some, the Estate represented more than a place of work.
“For us of Rose Hall, closure brings about real questions like where would our next meal come from, how would our children and grandchildren go to school, and how would we earn and meet our obligations,” he was quoted as saying by the Union.
It was further noted that the sugar worker also anticipated that there will be an increase in “crime, destitution, and social ills… difficult and broken families would become more commonplace,” as there is no other industry or enterprise which can readily take on the number of workers who will be laid off.
Calling on the Government to reverse its decision, he said the cost of the massive social upheaval that will take place, will be more than the sum needed to keep the Estate functioning.
“We believe that Rose Hall Estate can succeed and remain viable. Like the other estates in the sugar industry, our main problem is not enough canes being available. Our estate has shown in the past that it can do better and be better. We believe those times can return but there is need for some investment together with a committed and knowledgeable management. The workers are supportive of all efforts to safeguard the estate,” he outlined.
Reading from a prepared statement, he, however, noted that the workers are not supportive of privatizing the estate.