The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) says it has taken note of the remarks, which appeared in various sections of the media, made by President David Granger at the opening West Berbice Expo on
April 15, 2017.
“The President in his address announced that the Government was intent on keeping Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt Estates. The Head of State utterances, therefore, is yet another indication, in our view, that the administration has embraced the plan of the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) to close Rose Hall and Enmore Estates and to divest Skeldon Estate.”
According to GAWU, the biggest workers’ union of GuySuCo, the decision on sugar, taking into account the closure of Wales Estate, will see some 9,000 workers being thrown on to the breadline.
“Thousands more who depend on the workers whether as dependents, or as goods and service providers will also been harshly affected by the closure and sell-out thrust as reportedly signaled by the current President.”
The union said that it also see the President’s announcement as a departure from previous commitment by other high-ranking officials of the administration.
“GAWU is mindful that just a few weeks ago, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told the Guyanese people, through the media, that a ‘White Paper’ on sugar would be taken to the National Assembly for deliberation and debate. The Minister further went on to say that it was only after that exercise that firm decisions would be made with respect to sugar.”
The union made it clear yesterday that so far the paper has remained a secret and it appears that the President is taking a different approach.
“Our Union and the thousands of sugar workers see this as another betrayal. In recent times, the workers and their organisations have heard from the administration phrases like “Sugar too big to fail” or, as coming from PM Nagamootoo, “Sugar will never die” but then decisions are made which see them being pushed or facing the stark reality of a life of uncertainty and almost certainly misery.”
GAWU said it is saddening that the administration has taken this course and has chosen to shun the “credible advice” it has been receiving on ways to turnaround and safeguard the industry. “Moreover, when the alternative presented by GuySuCo is filled with so many holes and questions it is doubly worrying for our Union. The Government’s approach obviously brings into question its professed sincerity to the thousands dependent on its operations and embracing positions to safeguard and enhance the life and work conditions of our people, particularly the working-people.
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