Over 500 field and factory workers of the Rose Hall Estate staged a picketing exercise outside the estate’s Administrative Office protesting plans by the Government of Guyana and GUYSUCO to close the estate.
The exercise comes at a time when President David Granger stated that the Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt Estates will likely be the ones remaining in operation.
The workers who are against the possible closure picketed that not so long ago at the Rose Hall Martyrs Ceremony, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had charged those gathered at the event that “some estates will have to close but sugar will never die”.
A worker from the Harvesting Gang stated , “If the estate hours close then definitely it would affect everyone. Young people won’t have jobs, people with children that go to school will suffer.” He said, “You just can’t leave people hanging like that, people need answers, this is people’s future a stake.”
A Fitter Machinist and one of the very few women attached to the estate told reporters that everyone depends on the sugar industry in some way or the other. She stated that jobs are already difficult to find. “The car man, the store man and everyone depend on this. I working here for 28 years; I have children. Dem say they giving land, when you cultivate who gon buy?”.
According to GAWU release, if the Rose Hall Estate is closed it will take a toll on many communities and spawn unwanted social ills.
Mr. Harvey Tombron, of GAWU, Berbice, who was present with the workers picketing the move by the government said that social activities will be affected tremendously. “Many people will come to the GAWU office for a letter of withdrawal from the bank to say we don’t owe the credit union and we have this amount of savings. The reason for that is that many people owe the bank; some have mortgages and if the estate is closed what will these people do”.
The Rose Hall Estate employs some 2,400 persons. Areas such as the entire East and West Canje, New Amsterdam and also along the Corentyne will see major economic challenges since businesses will experience a drop in sales. Many sugar workers after being paid would venture to shops to purchase. That will end, many are of the opinion that business will “just not be the same if the industry is swept away”.
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