$44M relief grants distributed to 294 private cane farmers in Region Three

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A total of $44 million in relief cash grants were distributed to 294 private cane farmers across the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three).

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo spearheaded the exercise which saw the private sugar workers receiving $150,000 each at the Windsor Forest Community Centre Ground, on Monday.

Dr Jagdeo’s timely gesture is a promise delivered following a previous meeting with the farming group.

He said while in opposition the PPP/C was vocal in pointing out the previous APNU+AFC government’s blatant neglect of the sugar industry.

He said it was the same administration which had promised that it will ensure the industry would grow, but did otherwise by shutting the factories putting over 7,000 out of jobs.

“In fact, they had promised the workers a 20 per cent increase. Well, we saw how history unfolded, we saw what actually happened and it hadn’t been a year before the coalition was in office, the first casualty was Wales. And with shutting down Wales, without any study whatsoever about its viability, without any regard to what people will do when they lose their jobs there,” the VP stated.

At Wales estate alone, nearly 3,000 jobs were lost; about 2,000 workers from government and another 1,000 private works were severed.

Unlike the previous administration, the VP underscored that the PPP/C has always been concerned about generating new jobs.

Additionally, he emphasised the administration’s willingness to train a large number of Guyanese to match the nation’s rapidly growing economy.

“As soon as we got into office, we studied the locations, and we said we’re going to target the Wales area… for the gas to energy project, because that’s where we lost a lot of employment,” Dr Jagdeo added.

To this end, he stated that government is in the process of finalising the route for the project, and plans to award a contract by the end of the year to build a power plant at Wales and a Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) facility.

“We are hoping that within two and a half years, we would stop importing all the fuel to generate electricity, and we use our own gas to generate power in Guyana. That facility that we’re building there with supply twice as much, two times the power that GPL supplies to the whole country.”

Meanwhile, the vice president urged those present to take advantage of the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) programmes being offered by the administration to develop their academic capacity.

Following a survey conducted by the agriculture ministry, President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, along with the vice president plan to engage the private cane harvesters next week to address other matters.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha was also present at the exercise. [Extracted and modified from DPI]

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