The decision to close operations at the La Bonne Intention (LBI) Sugar Estate was not made by Government but by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
This is according to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Raphael Trotman who said on Wednesday that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Government inherited a plan that was already laid out by the previous Administration.
“As it relates to LBI, it must be reminded that the new Government inherited a plan that was already in place by the former Administration and it is not Government’s plan that is being executed but the management of GuySuCo,” Trotman said.
He was responding to questions by Journalists on Wednesday as he chaired this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency.
GuySuCo recently announced that the gates of the LBI Estate would be closed by May month-end.
Some 125 of the 846 workers are set to lose their jobs with this move to shut down LBI, the second sugar estate within a year.
Trotman, however, said that Agriculture Minister Noel Holder could soon meet with the affected workers. He said every effort would be made to ensure every person was transitioned into the Enmore operations – a plan that has been rejected by some workers.
Trotman added that the integration of the LBI and Enmore Sugar Estates was to rationalise the duplication of activities of staff, thus lowering the cost of production.
He advised the media that Cabinet was briefed at its last meeting by the Agriculture Minister on the merger of the Sugar Estates into one production entity. Holder, outlining the rationale for the merger to the Cabinet, pointed out that it was necessary to prevent sugar production in East Demerara from going out of existence in the near future.
The Minister disclosed that at the LBI facility, of the 846 employees, approximately 125 of them are carrying out duplicate functions that are being undertaken by employees at the Enmore Estate. These include mill dock operators and workers at the field workshop, field laboratory, field office and stores.
“The integration of the two Estates will therefore rationalise the duplicated activities, thus rendering the cost of production lower,” the Minister stated.