Oct 12, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The government has been pleading with oil and gas companies to hire workers who have been laid off by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
At least this was what the Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, said on Sunday during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI).
He was at time attending a career fair hosted by Guyana Shore Base Inc. (GYSBI) at the Uitvlugt Community Centre Ground. He had told DPI that his government is encouraging companies in the oil industry to seek out areas that would allow persons who have been laid off by GuySuCo to be employed.
The fair currently being hosted by GYSBI, which began on Saturday at the Providence Stadium located on the East Bank of Demerara, is seeking to recruit 150 persons to work with the company.
Indar had stated that GYSBI had approached the government for advice on where it could look for workers to fill those spots. The Minister said that he had told them that the best place to recruit persons is from the “catchment area” where GuySuCo had lost workers.
His exact words to the DPI were, “I said the catchment area is the best place, the catchment area where GuySuCo lost workers…because GuySuCo lost a lot of technical persons, they had technical education, they had good worker welders, good mechanics, etc.”
He further stated that the reason his government has been encouraging the oil and gas companies to recruit laid off sugar workers is because “when they left GuySuCo, no other industry could help to absorb them so they were unemployed.”
Indar added that during his discussions with the executives of GYSBI, he had explained to them that the best welders in the country are from GuySuCo and they along with machine operators and mechanics were pushed out of the sugar industry and had no place to work.
The Minister continued that these laid off sugar workers are the ones that the oil companies can employ and train to work in the sector because it is much easier for them to make the transition.
It should be noted that Minister Indar is not the first government official to highlight that efforts were being made to negotiate with oil companies to employ the severed workers from the sugar industry.
The Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, had stated during a recent visit to Region Six that prospective employers from the oil sector have expressed their need for “several hundred” persons to be employed and there has been discussions with them to employ these laid off workers from GuySuCo.
“They need several hundreds of people employed but we are not getting the people to train, and they want people basically from Region Four, maybe closer, Three. Right now, there is an industrialisation process in the Demerara River because you have a lot of shore based facilities being built, an industrial area that require a lot of workers and we have already started working on the project,” he had said.
Four of the main sugar estates, Wales, Skeldon, Rose Hall and Enmore were closed in 2018 by the previous administration and at least 7000 workers were sent home.
One of the reasons given by the Coalition for the closure of the estates was that the sugar industry was not making money and they had to be closed as a major cost-cutting exercise.
When this government took power in August 2020, it started off by trying to revitalise the sugar industry – a promise in its manifesto.
A large part of this year’s budget was also injected into the sector with the hopes of making it profitable again.
However, the recent mid-year report that was recently released revealed that the industry has declined by 22.4 percent for the first half of the year and by the end of this year, it is projected to have an overall decline by 10.4 percent.
The government has since stated that major floods earlier this year are to be blamed for this significant lost.
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