Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo believes the government can do more to ensure hundreds of workers in the sugar belt benefit from an increase in their salaries.
“It is just that they don’t want to give sugar workers an increase in salaries,” Jagdeo said during his press conference on Thursday.
Workers across the sugar belt were last given a salary increase in 2014.
In recent protests, the workers have lamented that they are the only group of State-employed workers who have not benefited from a pay hike since the coalition took office in 2015.
Government recently announced salary increases and retroactive pay for public servants, however, the sugar workers are once again excluded.
Government officials are on record saying that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has to make the decision on whether the sugar workers will also benefit from an increase.
But Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had contended that with GuySuCo’s financial position, an increase in pay may not be possible.
Jagdeo, however, argues that government can do more to ensure the workers benefit.
“This government has stripped the assets of GuySuCo and transferred the assets to NICIL and they are busy disposing a lot of these assets for which they earn money
“They also pledged these assets and raise the bond. I think $17 billion of the $13 billion has been disbursed to them and it’s like a black hole. The country, nobody in Guyana know how they’re spending this money.
“They do have the money there raised for GuySuCo on using GuySuCo’s assets as the pledge which was transferred to them.
“Why can’t they use some of these resources? They don’t have to go back to parliament. They don’t have to use the Contingency Fund. It doesn’t have to be part of the budget. They can easily transfer some of the money that they’re sitting on, paying 4.75 per cent interest on…They could easily transfer it to GuySuCo and finance the salary increase.”