Gov’t begins distribution of $250,000 cash grant to severed sugar workers

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Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Saturday spearheaded the distribution of the government’s one-off grant of $250,000 to severed sugar workers at the Enmore Estate on the East Coast of Demerara and the Wales Sugar Estate on the West Bank of Demerara.

He was joined by Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha.

The grant, which was first announced by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during a meeting with severed workers earlier this year, forms part of the government’s commitment to rebuilding and restructuring the sugar industry, and providing direct relief to the people of Guyana.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha hands over the cheque to a sugar worker

In a statement on his Facebook Page, Dr. Singh that the closure of estates by the APNU+AFC administration was a most callous and unconscionable act committed against workers, including thousands of persons working in the industry as well as tens of thousands living in communities that depend on the industry.

This, he said, resulted in social and economic hardships of rural Demerara and Berbice, with rippling effects throughout Guyana.

Further, he highlighted that the sugar industry still has an important contribution to make to Guyana, and the government is committed to the revitalisation and restructuring of the sugar industry to support a diversified and modernised sector so as to ensure its sustainability and economic viability.

Some of the workers who benefited from the cash grant with the government officials

Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha also said that the closure of the estates under the previous government left over 7,500 workers on the breadline resulting in the sudden death of the village economies where these estates were located.

Over 1,500 sugar workers from Enmore are set to benefit from Saturday’s exercise, which represents an injection of over G$375 million into that community.

The team of officials were also at the Wales Community Centre ground on Saturday, and Sunday they will be at the Rose Hall and Skeldon Community Centres to continue this exercise.

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