Sep 28, 2020 News
– 109 persons hired in two weeks with 490 registered to be employed
Preparatory work on the sugar lands of the Rose Hall Estate in East Canje, Berbice have commenced with a considerable amount of the cane fields already burnt and 18 hectares of the cultivation land already cleared within a space of two days.
This was revealed during a tour of the abandoned sugar fields by Aaron Dukhia, Estate Manager of the Rose Hall. Dukhia who was, brought on board together with a team of former senior employees who were severed when the estates closed in the 2016-2018 period, has been given the responsibility of getting the Rose Hall Estate operational again with the intention of producing sugar in 2022.
“The entire operations will have to be restarted from zero,” he told Kaieteur News, “because three years ago the estate was handed over to NICIL and recent observations have revealed that infrastructure has deteriorated to an extent where some of it has to be replaced. Some will need significant rehabilitation, the cultivation is in a very poor state, it is over-run with weeds, old canes, the navigation system is also overgrown with weeds so it’s a tall order to get this back into operation but I strongly feel that my staff and I and the people of this community and environs have the resilience to make this happen.”
Dukhia said that the objective is to not only get Rose Hall Estate grinding and producing sugar, but it is also to ensure workers regain the employment that was lost three years ago. He revealed that thus far, in a matter of two weeks, 105 persons have been employed with a register of persons who are anxious to be employed again as well. The manager revealed that as of yesterday 490 persons have been registered to take up employment as the estate gets up and running.
“So that indication itself is telling us that people want to work and it is our objective to ensure that they are rewarded with that job”, Dukhia said.He stated that presently persons are being hired to execute field work and the hiring for persons to work in the factory itself is expected to commence in another two weeks’ time. The estate is expected to produce some 6000 tonnes of sugar in the first crop in 2022 and another 8000 tonnes for the second crop that same year.
“The factory will have to start their preparatory work and in that case,” Dukhia, “we will start employing factory workers in two weeks. The employees we have now are staff, skill operators and mechanics and field workers that are engaged in burning of fields and cleaning of fields for mechanical tillage operations.”
During a tour of the present operations of field work it was clear that thousands of hectares of sugar lands were left abandoned, the access point in those areas overgrown with unwanted vegetation, the dams were dilapidated and many of the bridges were rotting away. Punts were left to rot away in the canals and tractors, motorcycles and other machinery were also abandoned; much of the machinery was deteriorated or had parts stolen from them. Millions of dollars were left to rot away when it could have been sold, an estate employee said.
As the preparations continue to begin the mechanical tillage programme, which is the first step in a rehabilitation process, a lot of preparatory work still has to be done, because, Dukhia said, “the fields were left abandoned for a number of years and we are hoping to continue that exercise, the ploughing and tilling once the weather can allow us.” Presently the estate is engaging with contractors to have tractors that can plough since it is urgently needed. The estate does not presently have the kind of machinery and tillage equipment needed to carry out the tillage program in order to achieve that grinding of canes in the first crop of 2022. GUYSUCO has started the process of sourcing new agriculture machinery, tractors and equipment but in the interim out-sourced machinery will be utilized.
Meanwhile, Ashraf Khan, 44 said he was hired a week ago. He was removing lodged water and mud from an abandoned punt in the estate main canal when Kaieteur News spoke with him. He was beaming with smiles as braved the hot sun to execute his job. He said since he was severed from the Rose Hall estate he only managed to work on and off as a Mason and Painter during the period but he “feels so good to be employed again by the estate, I feel glad because I had 18 year service, the sun is not a problem”.
Doodnath Dhanram who was severed from the Wales Estate in the tillage department was brought to the Rose Hall Estate to help in getting the estate up and running.
“Field operation is no big problem for me, and I am happy that I can serve some time again. I used to plant garden after I got fired but there is no words to explain how happy I am, 36 years I work GUYSUCO, so I am happy to serve GUYSUCO again. Tears was in my eyes when they closed Wales”, he said.
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