Enmore Sugar Estate to become hub for employment on ECD – VP

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has announced that Government has some major plans for the Enmore Sugar Estate that was closed under the former Administration of A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).

He said it would now be transformed to serve as an employment hub for the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).

During an appearance on the Globespan Show on Monday, he revealed that the Government was mulling a large-scale industrial complex at Enmore that would go beyond sugar production. “We just had, a couple weeks ago, a discussion on the entire masterplan for five years of turning around sugar. It would involve a number of things including packaging more processed sugar. We’d have to make a determination between Enmore, because Enmore, and other areas are slated for industrial development too.”

According to the Vice President, this development is not “necessarily just sugar-related, but to absorb employment that people lost jobs. So, we’re looking to Enmore for a broader scale industrial (complex) that would employ people from the East Coast. East Coast, parts of Region Five. To shift more employment into the lower areas, Haslington, Golden Grove, all of these areas, Cove and John, Foulis.”

He further explained, “So, we want to do that. So, we’re deciding now, since Albion as you correctly pointed out is the area that produces the most sugar and at a fairly lower cost compared to other areas, that to do more packaging at Albion. So that study (is ongoing) now to see if we can’t install some packaging (plant) at Albion and upgrade the one at Blairmont.”

The former APNU/AFC Government had closed the Wales Estate in 2016, and subsequently shut down the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates. This resulted in thousands of jobs being lost and only Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion Estates being in operation.

After taking office last year, the PPP/C Government announced in the 2020 Emergency Budget presented in September 2020, that some $5 billion would be injected into the sugar industry for the phased reopening of the closed estates. The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) was allocated a further $2 billion in Budget 2021 by the PPP/C Government for capital works to be undertaken at the various estates to help in the turnaround of the sugar industry.

The PPP/C had promised on the campaign trail to reopen these estates, and within weeks of being in office, had taken steps in this direction. In fact, last September, the Irfaan Ali-led Administration had invited Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from investors. According to the invitation for EoIs, “a joint venture, partnerships, or a leasing arrangement on the now re-opened vested sugar estates at Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon, and also on the operational sugar estates at Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion…” were being sought.

The notice invited “…interests from the Private Sector to participate in different forms in the ownership or operations of GuySuCo.” It was reported last November that, along with one local entity, some nine international companies from Asia, North America, South America and the Caribbean had submitted EoIs. At least three of those foreign companies were Indian. GuySuCo has been eyeing the reopening of Enmore and Rose Hall Estates by 2022. It is expected that the Rose Hall factory will be the first to become operational, while the Skeldon factory will be returned to operation by 2023.

The Wales factory will be divested. With the efforts to revive GuySuCo, the Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion Estates recorded the highest daily production for 2021, as well as 2020 when it was announced that the sugar company had produced 710 metric tonnes of sugar on March 11.