Gov’t to close Wales Estate – Hundreds of sugar workers to be placed on breadline

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By Kristen Macklingam, INews reporter
The APNU/AFC coalition is proceeding to stick to plans it had made while in Opposition to have sugar factories/estates shut down despite public outcries against such a move and the Wales, West Bank Demerara location has been earmarked as the first to go.
The Wales Sugar Factory and estate is one of the oldest located in the country and still functional but is operating at a huge loss so the relevant authorities opine it should be closed down.

Wales Sugar Estate

Plans are afoot to have these workers receive their benefits and severance pay, a source stated.
Meanwhile, hundreds of sugar workers and their families are slated to be directly affected as their only means of survival and earning a livelihood will no longer exist.
INews understands that in the phasing-out process the sugar canes at Wales will have to be transported via tractor/trailers to the Uitvlugt factory on the West Coast of Demerara.
LOGISTICS AND COST
For the canes to be transported, the sugar industry will have to expend huge sums since the distance between the two factories is great.
The old fashioned method of using punts to haul canes will not be applicable in this situation since the Boerasiri conservancy does not have a direct link between the Wales and Uitvlugt estates.
This means that the only means of transportation would be tractor/trailer which carries only a limited amount of cane per trip, thus will prove to be a very costly venture.
Meanwhile, the already crippled sugar industry would continue to suffer ‘blows’ as monies would have to be found to pay for this process as well as to pay workers severance who would no longer be employed at Wales Estate.
Meanwhile, it is understood that operations at the Uitvlugt factory are still facing challenges.
At this time it is unclear whether it can handle double the production it would be required to facilitate with the canes from Wales.

2015 SUGAR COI REPORT
It is important to note that this CoI report which is supposed to pave the way forward for Guyana’s flailing sugar industry did include the possibility of closing some sugar estates.
Such a suggestion was met with intense debates and prolonged discussions which saw the majority of Commissioners holding firm to the position that there should be no closure of estates at this time. Although the administration has been in receipt of this CoI report it is yet to pronounce on the recommendations and other matters highlighted therein.
However, the APNU/AFC government has already begun preparations for the closing down of the Wales Estate.
Meanwhile, it is expected that very soon management of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) will deliver the news to those at the Wales estate and factory that they will be displaced.

BACKPEDALLING
When the APNU/AFC coalition had been the main Opposition party in 2015 it had trumpeted that should it gain power following the May 11 elections it would close down GuySuCo.
However, after former President Donald Ramotar announced that Guyana cannot afford to close the sugar estates, while pointing out some of the serious adverse effects of such a move, then Presidential Candidate for the APNU David Granger told his supporters that “sugar is too big to fail”.
He assured that should he be elected President he would not close down sugar.
Additionally Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had also told supporters then on the campaign trails that the sugar industry will not be closed if the coalition won at the May 11 poll.
However, on Arrival Day last year, Nagamootoo went a little further, saying they will close the sugar industry and outlined what should happen after its closure.
“Our ancestors worked very hard and today we still have their descendants on the sugar estate working very hard and of course they deserve to reap the contributions made by their ancestors and they don’t need to be afraid that the factory may be closed and that they may be out of jobs. They need to be guaranteed that even if there is factory closure on the sugar estates that the land must first go to the sugar workers. Let them choose if they want to grow cane on it, let them choose if they want to rear fish on it or they want to rear cattle on it. The land belongs to the ancestors of our Indian foreparents who worked in the sugar industry…” Nagamootoo had said to the surprise of many who were in attendance.
However, at present it is unclear as to what the administration has in store for the lands and factory at Wales following its closure which is set to be announced soon.

15 COMMENTS

  1. SUGAR TURN BITTER NOW NO USE FOR THAT IN THIS GOVERNMENT WALES ESTATE is a strong hold for the PPP/C that`s why they are closed down to make jail for these people ,because there will be no work and more thief in the area

  2. now wales will have to get what linden is receiving… FREE ELECTRICITY,, FREE WATR,, FREE TRANSPORT.. FREE EVERYTHING

  3. Let us watch see who will get the Lion’s share of these GuySuCo’s lands that will become available.
    What will happened to the Private Cane Farmers who have planted sugar canes in that area?They would surely have to pay more for transporting their canes to Uitvlugt.This will be very costly. They will have to stop planting sugar cane in that area.
    All in all, a lot of people would be out of jobs. More Crisis/Poverty in evolution in those communities. Time will tell.

  4. PPP did everything it can and would have done anything to sustain GUYSUCO and to ensure that workers stay on the job.
    PNC doesn’t know how to create employment, but to retrench people.
    Guyana is going down faster as expected.
    SHAME ON THE PNC!!!!!!!!

  5. If this report is true i trust we are not revisiting pass mistakes i.e scrapping of the rail system….the bauxite company decision.. and other such decisions which affected the country`s progress also latter day thievery.

    Is there a PLAN B for this closure taking taking into consideration the logistics for cane transportation , added capacity for the Lenora Estate and other sundries i.e traffic congestion with it`s devastation results.

  6. Here we go the dictator in action–95% of the ppl that will loose their daily bread are of a certain ethnic group and the soldier bai could care less they are of of his kind period-so pp, wake up -these ppl are out to destroy us.

  7. Granger had said sugar is too big to fail but now he is in office he is singing a different tune,how is Nagamootoo going to face the sugar workers who he so blatantly lied to?then again he has no shame so he can go with his dry face and say another lie,O what some people can do for a chance at power.

  8. Change is coming! All those who voted for change is getting change. Its only a matter of time before some of them are directly affected by these CHANGES.

    Before closing the estate, there should be a plan to retrain those employees who are directly affected. While I realize that many sugar cane workers are unskilled labor, efforts should be made re-tool them so they can at least have a chance of earning a living. I hate to say this, but there will be big trouble in little Guyana.

  9. Gov’t to close Wales Estate – Hundreds of sugar workers to be placed on breadline
    Hint !!! Under PNC 28 year misrule only one sugar estate in action.
    It start already.. Stay tune East Indians and some Afros…
    Bet me something::: Gas price went from over 100 $ per barrel to now $30 and Guyanese not getting any reduction in gas price..
    You bet you life on it had PPP been in power and dont drop that price to pass on that savings to motorist the streets of Guyana would have been flooded with protesters demanding PPP drop the price if not.. See how PNC own can bare their chafe when they ruling ???

  10. The people of Guyana are fooled by APNU+AFC combine. Them came to power by false promises and now they are doing entirely the opposite of what they said when in opposition and during campaign. What we are seeing money by cleaning the drains in Georgetown and spending tax payers money in garden and buildings that will never be used by the public. Them build parking lots and take away free parking space and want to collect 360 per hour??? and appoint a staff, pay tax payers money as salary? You will see more closures and people will not be able to buy bread because there is no money in circulation. Sugar , Rice , Mining and construction all come to stand still and no signs of recovery.

  11. The closing of the Wales Estate will put more people on the unemployment line and it will be very hard for some families. Guyana is really getting a change

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