Gov’t supporters protest PPP meetings in Berbice
By Royan Abrams
Supporters of the A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) coalition protested in front of the venue where two public meetings were held by the opposition People’s Progressive Party PPP/C with sugar workers on Wednesday, January 24, 2018.
The protesters said they wanted to express their frustration against what they deemed as “misinformation” being provided to the public by the PPP as it relates to the closure of the sugar estates in Berbice.
In what supposed to be a peaceful protest, the APNU+AFC supporters, with placards, disrupted one of the meetings which was held in Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam.
This eventually led to a confrontation between the protesters and some sugar workers; the police had to be called in to control the protesters.
Chairman of the Regional Body in Region 6 for the APNU+AFC, Kirk Fraser disclosed that the main focus of the protest is to let the sugar workers know the truth behind the closure of the sugar estates in Berbice. He emphasized that the closure of the estate is as a result of bad management under the former PPP administration.
“Government have put $32 billion dollars into the industry from 2015 to 2017 in which no returns is receive from the industry. We cannot allow taxpayers money to go down the drain without receiving any financial return and as such we plan to protest all the meetings organized by the PPP so that we can bring clarity on this issue.
“We recognized that it’s not this government fault but is under the PPP administration which have run the industry into the ground,” Fraser said.
Fraser told reporters that the Guyana Sugar Corporation is (GuySuCo) is bankrupt.
“If GuySuCo has filed for bankruptcy, the workers would have been on the breadline, it is the government wish not to put the workers on the breadline but to receive what is due to them as a result of their employment over the years at the estate,” Fraser said.
The Skeldon Factory and the Rose Hall estates in Berbice along with Enmore and Wales Estates are no longer in operation, leaving over 4,000 workers without a job.
Estates at Albion and Blairmont will remain open while operations in West Demerara will be concentrated at Uitvlugt.
The Government projects that the three estates will be able to produce 150, 000 tonnes of sugar annually by 2020 and this would satisfy local and export markets.