By Kristen Macklingam
In light of Government sticking to its decision of shutting down the Wales Sugar Estate, West Bank Demerara (WBD) the three sugar workers’ Unions are calling on the Administration to publicly declare its plans, if any, for the future of those affected and to disclose what the thousands of acres of prime land will be used for.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), the National Association of the Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) along with the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) in a joint press conference this morning stated that apart from the ‘painful effects on those workers’ who will be directly affected from such a move the issue also has far-reaching economic and social implications.
GAWU’s President Komal Chand and NAACIE’s General Secretary Kenneth Joseph stated that a meeting was held with personnel from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) on Wednesday last where the two Unions were informed that the plan was to absorb the workers at Uitvlugt Estate.
“Others to be made redundant and some others to be given jobs in a business venture they could not tell us about. Again, we formed the view that the hazy ideas were not thought out and, in all likelihood, cannot be realized. In effect, there is no worthwhile plan at this time but if they have a plan then let GuySuCo and the government make it public,” Joseph told reporters.
He reiterated that the lives of many, their future and their investments are now threatened with the prospect of closure in a matter of months.
According to Joseph the government has made a ‘suicidal decision’ to close the Wales Sugar Estate in circumstances where apparently there is no ‘considered or clear decision’ to follow regarding the utilization of the lands and the dislocation of hundreds of employees as well as other related questions.
Meanwhile General Secretary of GAWU Seepaul Narine posited that the decision to close the estate in question is ‘turning on to a wrong path’ since it can most likely affect the progress noted over the last year in terms of production.
“To some extent it will very well affect also the country’s treasury. It has grave implications for the workers, the residents, several communities, and Region Three. The government must now act wisely, sensibly and immediately to undo its decision for the consequences are too dire,” he said.