Apr 18, 2017 News
…Uitvlugt also safe, but costs worrisome – Granger
Government has some clear ideas about at least three sugar estates that it will want
They include Blaimont, West Berbice and one in East Berbice – Albion. The other is Uitvlugt on the West Coast of Demerara.
The disclosures were made Saturday evening by President David Granger during the opening ceremony of the Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s Expo and Trade Fair at the Bath Settlement Community Ground, West Coast Berbice.
The disclosures would come at a time when sugar workers and their unions have expressed nervousness about which estates are likely for closure. It has been reported that most likely Enmore, on the East Coast of Demerara and Rose Hall estates, East Berbice, are the ones that may be closed, although no official confirmation has been made by the administration.
Last December, the century-old Wales estate, on the West Bank of Demerara, was closed, with the government insisting that the estate was projected to suffer up to $2B in losses. There were several protests by the workers and unions, with both making clear that the industry was much more than profits. It involved communities which evolved around the estates.
Addressing the crowd Saturday night, Granger disclosed that the Blairmont sugar estate is among those that will likely be preserved, even as Government looks to ensure that the industry lowers the cost of production in order to produce sugar that is competitive on the world market.
He also called on the Regional Administration, the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, members of the business community and civil society to work together with the Central Government to ensure that the challenges to the region’s further development are solved.
Noting that Region Five has established itself as a bastion of Guyana’s food security, President Granger emphasised the importance of heeding the trade fair’s call through its theme to “Build a diversified economy” as well as ensuring traditional sectors are maintained through lower cost of production.
“We have to produce our commodities more cheaply. Otherwise, we will not be able to compete, whoever is in the Government… We want to save the sugar industry, but it must be efficient and competitive… We are not working to destroy the industry. We are working to develop the industry, and the industry has been contracting. Some countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica and Belize have seen their industries contract. Some have disappeared altogether because the cost of production was too high.
Guyana is trying to preserve its industry. That is why there will be a Blairmont and that is why there is going to be an Albion and we will preserve as many of our plantations and estates as possible. Uitvlugt will remain, but we have to deal with the problems of cost,” he said.
President of the Chamber, Imran Saccoor, acknowledged that the sugar industry, which he described as the economic backbone of the Region, and by extension Guyana, in its current state, is a “threat to our national treasury”. He commended the Government for preserving the Blairmont Estate, which is the single largest employer in the region.
Regional Chairman, Vickchand Ramphal also pointed to the challenges in the sugar industry, as well as a number of other challenges affecting farmers.
The sugar industry has been demanding billions of dollars of bailouts from consecutive governments annually as inefficient factories, poor agriculture, prices, costs and weather challenged the industry. It owes billions to creditors and workers have been leaving for greener pastures. There are currently seven estates in operation across Berbice and Demerara at the moment.
Was Jagdeo honest when he made those promises?
Sep 21, 2023– Warriors face Tallawahs Friday with last spot in finals up for grabs Kaieteur Sports – Man-of-the-match Chadwick Walton cracked an unbeaten 80 as Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR)...
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.