Dec 08, 2017 News
The Alliance For Change (AFC), the smaller faction in the governing Government coalition, is urging that an offer for severance be presented to sugar workers now.
This comes two days after one of its ministers- Mr Noel Holder- came under fire for the handling of sugar workers- several hundreds of them -who have been notified that there will be no work for them in the New Year at Rose Hall, Skeldon and Enmore estates.
Holder, as the Minister of Agriculture, on Tuesday made it clear that the decision to send home workers was in keeping with the plan of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and recommendations from White Paper on the industry’s future.
The position had clashed with that of AFC other partner in Government, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) which said it was not notified of the decision to send home the workers.
AFC did not immediately refer to the differences between the coalition factions on the issue.
With 16,000-plus workers in the industry, the issue has become a hot political one.
Yesterday, AFC said it is reiterating its deep concern for the welfare of sugar workers who are likely to be affected by the changes contemplated by GuySuCo.
The party insists that severance must be in place.
AFC, which holds the Prime Ministerial, the Public Security, and Public Infrastructure portfolios as well, recommended that in addition to severance, consideration must be given to an offer of land leases for alternative economic engagement; access to small concession loans and access to extension services and markets for agro-processing.
“The party recognizes that the state paper on GuySuCo which was laid in the National Assembly in May outlines certain actions which are necessary and unavoidable if the sugar industry is to be regularized and become sustainable,” AFC said.
The party also said it is “cognizant” that GuySuCo has been engaging with the workers and their unions for some time now regarding actions which are necessary.
It called on GuySuCo to intensify this initiative to ensure that all workers are adequately briefed, counseled and are presented with all the necessary information regarding the future status of GuySuCo and the sugar sector.
“The party recognizes that the future of GuySuCo is of paramount importance and the government must continue to pursue those options for the sugar industry which is not a burden on the national treasury.”
The AFC said it looks forward to an amicable resolution to the issue, but insists that as the Yuletide season is upon Guyana, workers must not be adversely affected and the offer of severance must be thoroughly detailed and presented to the workers now.
GuySuCo has been a major drain on the country’s finances with $32B plugged into the industry over the past three year with little to show.
The imminent divestment and privatization of four estates have heavily divided the Government and the Opposition- the People’s Progressive Party– which supports base has been sugar workers.
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