The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has called for a social impact assessment to be conducted by Government before a decision on the future of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is made, while contending that any more closures or privatisations of other sugar estates may lead to chaos countrywide.
“The social impact assessment is imperative in relation to any action regarding the industry,” PPP Executive Member Irfaan Ali said earlier today during a press conference at the party’s Freedom House headquarters.
According to a party statement read by Ali, this social impact study was not conducted on the Wales Estate before its closure on December 31, 2016. “We were then shocked to learn that no social impact assessment was done nor was any economic study done…On what basis was the decision made to close the Wales Estate?”
The Parliamentarian noted that based on this revelation, it became clear that the Government was only focused on “exiting this industry” without any care or concern for the communities, workers, country and economy.
He noted that after calling for these studies to be conducted the response that was received was “if the Opposition wants these studies, they can do it themselves”. Ali described this remark as “much more frightening.”
In addition, the PPP Executive Committee Member Dr Roger Luncheon also warned that if Government decides to close any other estate, it may lead to civil unrest. He further elaborated by referring to the current Parking Meter controversy.
“This will cause a confrontation. If we use one current example – the parking meters- and we use a feature of this Granger government, no consultation, you see where it leads?… We can assume that the same sentiment that put the protesters on the streets of Georgetown will have protesters all over the sugar belt were this course of action to be continued,” Dr Luncheon asserted.
Since being elected in May 2015, the APNU/AFC coalition Government has contributed to the closure of the Wales Estate, and has proposed to have the Enmore Estate closed as well.
After the closure of the Wales Estate on December 31, 2016, hundreds of workers were left unemployed. Some were transferred to the Uitvlugt Estate which has been expanded, while others have been protesting the Government’s delay to pay them their severances after refusing to be transferred due to distance. (Ramona Luthi)