Tag: 苏州一品楼凤

Jagdeo cautions Govt on catastrophic repercussions

first_imgSugar estates’ closure…decisions affecting Govt supporters also – GAWU General SecretaryAs Government moves forward with its plans to only keep the Albion, Uitvlugt and Blairmont estates functioning while abandoning the others, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has reminded them of the devastating social and economic impacts that thousands would face as a result of the closures.At the meeting at State House with President David Granger on Wednesday evening, Jagdeo reminded that “sugar is not a corporation but an industry”, adding that the closure of estates would have “catastrophic repercussions”, not only among sugar workers and their surrounding communities but across the entire economy. The Opposition Leader asserted that with the correct policies, fiscal space could be made for continued assistance to the sugar industry until it recovered from its current problems.Accompanying the Opposition Leader at the meeting was former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall while the Government side included Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and current Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams, SC. Many issues were raised and discussions over the fallout of estate closures were extensive.At the end of December 2016, Government, through dialogue with stakeholders, had first stated its intention to shut down Enmore, the Rose Hall factory and to privatise the Skeldon plant. Documents that Government tendered revealed that there would be divestment of Skeldon. In fact, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder told Guyana Times on Wednesday that Government wanted Skeldon out of its remit.“What we know is we have to get rid of Skeldon – Skeldon is a hole that we can’t come out of,” Holder had told this newspaper.GAWU lashes outBut the workers’ representative body, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has voiced heavy criticisms of the coalition Government for moving forward with plans to close estates. In an interview with this newspaper on Thursday, GAWU General Secretary Seepaul Narine questioned whether the Government had any vision for the country.“We don’t agree with it and we had made our presentation to the Government, explaining why we don’t agree…the people running this country don’t have any vision for the people who they govern over, because they have not done any social impact studies,” Narine strongly stated.He lamented the shaky future of thousands of workers and their families.“You’re talking about closing three estates with approximate 5000 people minimum and then in the case of Wales, that’s already gone and you’re talking about 1700 people. It’s a significant amount of people whose future is at limbo because of the Government’s decision.”There is no alternative [and] that’s the hurtful part of it, the GAWU official stressed. Narine explained that GAWU was against the moves Government was making.“We see the direction that Government is going is absolutely wrong; they are walking in the dark with no candle, so they can’t see what direction they are going in. If you’re going to close estates and put people on the breadline, you need to say what alternatives you have for them,” he reiterated.Narine had a bleak outlook for the future of the sugar industry in Guyana.“The Administration fails to understand that the decisions they are making are hurting their own people,” Narine stressed.Government ceased sugar operations at the Wales Estate in December 2016, citing cost as the main factor for closure. Hundreds of workers, albeit reluctantly, transferred their service to the Uitvlugt Estate while hundreds more opted for severance packages. Several others are still demanding severance, but the Agriculture Ministry contends that all workers who requested severance were paid. The workers’ representative organisation said that the Ministry’s disclosure was misleading. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img read more