Pres. Ali touts creation of more jobs at Enmore & Albion
By Vishani Ragobeer
The Irfaan Ali-led government continues to invest in reviving Guyana’s age-old sugar industry and now, with plans to consolidate sugar production in the Berbice county, President Ali posits that more jobs for Guyanese will be created.
A new multimillion dollar, state-of-the-art machine shop and pipe yard will be created from the current Enmore sugar packaging plant on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD). This new facility will create some 500 jobs, many of which will go to sugar workers at the packaging plant.
But President Ali, during a press conference on Sunday, noted that the packaging plant is not being dismantled. He said that the plant is being moved to Albion in Region Six (East Berbice- Corentyne).
Moving the plant there, he explained, will allow more jobs to be created in that region as new workers will be needed to man the plant. Additionally, two extra packaging lines – to boost the amount of sugar packaged – should be added to the Albion plant, thereby increasing the number of workers needed.
“It is winning on both sides of the coin because it is sustaining and creating new jobs on the East Coast corridor and at the same time, creating new jobs in Regions Five and Six,” President Ali said, as he justified the government’s relocation of the plant.
He added that the government is seeking to consolidate its assets in the sugar industry in Regions Five and Six.
Since assuming office in August 2020, the PPP/C government has spent billions bailing out the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
Earlier this year, during the budget debates, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha defended this spending, stating that the government will continue to bail out the agency for as long as it needs to.
President Ali emphasised that he does not live in a “fanciful dream” but noted that he is focused on both diversifying and industrialising the local economy.
And with the new developments at Enmore and Albion, the Head-of-State emphasised: “Sugar is viable.”
Despite lower production due to a string of challenges, including nationwide flooding, President Ali said that the sugar industry has significant social, economic and financial value to Guyana.
Importantly, too, he pointed out that sugar is among the top five imports in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Based on information he provided to CARICOM last week during a leaders’ summit, the region imports about 1.2 million tonnes of sugar annually; this costs the region more than US $1 billion annually.
This signals that a substantial market for the product exists.
Now, with Guatemala’s help, President Ali said that Guyana could revitalise its sugar industry- possibly returning it to profitability. And he knocked those with recurring concerns about the government’s continued spending on this industry.
“We have to decide- Do we want the jobs and save the industry at the same? We are not selling out the assets, we are catalysing the assets,” President Ali said.
Guatemala is Latin America’s second largest sugar export and the world’s fourth largest exporter overall.