Although it has made a proposal to manage the Enmore estate, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is not happy about how the administration is going about the planned privatization process.
According to the business body, it “continues to be dismayed” at the government’s decision to pursue the closure of sugar estates as the only solution to the crisis in the sugar industry.
An estimated 4,000 workers from Rose Hall and Skeldon, in East Berbice, and Enmore, East Demerara, have been told come the New Year, they will not have a job.
This is because the estates, along with Wales, West Demerara, are up for privations and divestment.
With 16,000 workers in the industry, the issue has been a highly sore one for the Government and Opposition, and stakeholders.
According to the PSC, in August of this year, it proposed to the Government that they enter into a public-private partnership for investment in and management of selected estates as a probable and effective alternative to closure.
“Indeed, it was our clear understanding at a meeting the Commission held with Mr. Colvin Heath-London of NICIL, that the Government had determined to pursue such an option.
Sugar has been the major employer of Guyanese for over a century and, until these drastic measures were taken, continued to be the largest employer of our labour force.”
Yet, PSC said, “unbelievably”, the Government has no definitive plan to rescue the industry nor save its workers from unemployment and from the ensuing hardship which will inevitably result.
“While the decision to close has been announced, we are again asking our Government to recognise the ensuing hardships placed on the communities served by and dependent on sugar and the consequential damage to the economy as a whole. We ask once more that our Government should think again.”
The plan for the closure and amalgamation of estates of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has been in the making for a while, and foreseen by the corporation.
A white paper on the future of the industry recommended the privatization and divestment of the three estates.
The Coalition Government is unwilling to continue sinking money into the industry which has fallen into hard times, with annual cash bailouts to the tune of billions needed.
GuySuCo is battling now to find monies to pay severance to workers made redundant.
It is the intention to keep three estates- Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt – operational under a lean GuySuCo.
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