Granger says reopening of sugar estates is ‘fake news’
Former President David Granger has described as “fake news,” a commitment by the PPP Government to reopen sugar estates which were closed by Granger’s coalition government in 2018.
“They say they are opening the sugar factories, [but] I don’t know if this is true. Its fake news,” Granger said in a Public Interest show hosted by APNU+AFC activist, Nicole Telford.
The show was aired on the APNU+AFC’s Facebook page.
The closure of the four sugar estates at Rose Hall, Skeldon, Enmore and Wales, had impacted more than 7,000 workers who were left without jobs and some, even without their severance packages.
The same year the estates were closed, the PPP severely criticized the then government for its handling of the situation, and made a commitment to reopen the estates once it was returned to office.
The party formally registered its commitment including in its 2020 elections manifesto – excerpts of which were made public.
But according to Granger, he is yet to see the PPP’s manifesto, even after the party has won and assumed office.
“I haven’t seen a copy of their manifesto,” he said, adding that it was the PPP Government that had closed the estates at Diamond and Lusignan.
“Even the unions are asking when are they going to open the sugar plantations again; they promised to reopen all,” he noted.
Since assuming office on August 2, the PPP Government had repeatedly said that it will honour its commitment to the people and reopen the estates.
As recent as Saturday, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha reassured farmers and residents of Region 5 (West Coast Berbice) that the four estates will be reopened.
He added that before this is done, a new board of directors will soon be appointed to oversee the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and that there will be a reshuffling of the management of the Corporation.
“We are looking to improve management, we know for a fact that the management of GUYSUCO had lots of criticism and we want to improve that partnership between workers and management,” Minister Mustapha said.
But Granger is holding firm to the belief that the reopening of these estates will not materialize, neither will the PPP be able to create 50,000 jobs as was promised during the elections campaign.
“It looks as if they are removing 50,000 jobs to me. So when it comes to these 50,000 jobs, this is going to be marvellous. They started by removing people from their jobs. You cannot go on the street and recruit talented people. It’s fake. I dare them to show the Guyanese people a manifesto, identifying where these 50,000 jobs will come from,” the former President charged.