Opposition Leader wants public debate with Gov’t – on closure of Wales estate

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In light of the Government’s decision to proceed with plans to have the Wales, West Bank Demerara (WBD) sugar estate closed down by the end of this year, leader of the Opposition and former President Bharrat Jagdeo is challenging the administration to participate in a public debate about the issue at hand.

Speaking to hundreds of sugar workers, cane farmers and their families on Tuesday afternoon at the market square near the Wales sugar factory, Jagdeo stated that this move by the APNU+AFC coalition will negatively affect the country’s development since sugar still remains a major revenue earner for Guyana.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo addressing a large gathering at Wales, yesterday
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo addressing a large gathering at Wales, yesterday

At this point in time the sugar industry is still one of the largest employers in Guyana and this move by the government will severely impact the lives of thousands of residents living in Region Three, he
said.

Highlighting the fact that the economies of both the region and the country will suffer tremendously with the shutting down of the Wales sugar estate the Opposition leader also pointed out that the
investments in the sugar industry have a ‘systemic impact’ apart from the financial impact throughout the length and breadth of Guyana.

As such, the sugar industry cannot be looked at only from a financial perspective but there must be consideration given to the economic aspect also, Mr Jagdeo posited.

“Many of the villages’ entire drainage and irrigation system rely on the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo)…the difference is it (the sugar industry) has many other impacts outside of the financial impact of the industry…this is why you have to keep sugar alive,” he explained.
According to Mr Jagdeo, his party (PPP/C) firmly stands against the move to close the Wales sugar estate and will stand with the sugar workers, cane farmers and residents of Region Three in opposing such a hasty decision made by the Government.

A section of the gathering at Wales, yesterday
A section of the gathering at Wales, yesterday

“We want the Government to come out too, why don’t they come out and face us in a debate if we can’t debate in Parliament let us come to Wales and face off in a debate. Let us come to Wales because then we wouldn’t have anyone to stop us from talking and then we wouldn’t have
to wait until 2am in the morning to get our views across. Let us have a debate…if Nagamootoo talks all the time about how wonderful he is, let him come and face me here at Wales…,” the Opposition leader challenged.

The large crowd in attendance had gathered to air their concerns about the estate’s closure, and were reminded that the 2015 sugar Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report recommended that no sugar estate in the country be closed at this point in time with eight of the 10 Commissioners voting against any closure.

“The intent of the government had been laid bare sometime back…they were hell-bent on closing some of the estates in the sugar industry…so it came to pass swiftly, Parliament has not even considered the CoI report, that report itself does not recommend any closure of any estate,” he explained.

Persons listening attentively to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at the meeting in Wales, yesterday
Persons listening attentively to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at the meeting in Wales, yesterday

Mr Jagdeo reaffirmed his Party’s position in protecting the rights and future of all sugar workers in the country and promised that it will continue to fight against the closure of any sugar estates in Guyana.

“The callous way in which they did it speaks a lot about this Government; they just did it through a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture. One would have thought that they would have come on
the ground and talked to the workers and the cane farmers and the others if they had to pursue this path but no… they have double standards. They talk about not being able to afford one thing but
pumping billions of dollars in another,” the former President declared. (Kristen Macklingam for INews)

9 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t you live in Canada,are you not one of the many brains that neglected the PPP during the 23 years, Barrat is doing the WISPER campaign,if he had his wishes the Lotto funds would have been his trumpet,,,BLOWING it out as if it was his personal account,sorry for all those people depending on the industry,shops,vendors,and the community, solutions to many of the problems are taking much too long, the government has a uphill battle, lets hope the affected people are giving an alternative,,

  2. If the company was run like a business for the last 23 years and turning a profit (like a business) there would be no need to call for a debate. Now ordinary taxpayer’s money that should have gone to health care, water and roads will have to go to bailing out Guysuco. AGAIN.

  3. This government is approaching everything without thinking through things. One can just shut down work for 1700 people permanently just like that. In this situation, many more lives and an entire community and an environment is at stake. They need to have a discussion fast with the PPP. BOTH need to put politics aside and discuss the reality, and make suggestions and a joint statement. Next ,have a time table for this situation and how to fhase it out. Find an investor or find a way to make the area into another agricultural venue.

  4. Guyana now becomes a Cowboy Country.The APNU/AFC is lawless in all their dealings as they appear to run a Country that they cannot run.They don’t care one damn about the people of this Country.They are a set of selfish and greedy people who stole power on 11th May,2015

  5. Jagdeo, glad to see such a huge turnout! I suppose the people are already starting to realized that installing the PNC regime into power was a terrible mistake! The PNC regime has no economic skills! Most of them are dunces, bully and dictators. The fail to understand that Guyana MUST keep close with its neighbors to avoid economic collapsed….keeping close to the ABC countries will serve Guyana no purpose but to place it under the Atlantic…The ABC countries has too much alternatives for Sugar and WILL NEVER buy from Guyana….The ABC countries are only interested in OIL, GOLD and grating visa to the educated people to go abroad and develop their countries leaving all the dunces behind…..Hope the PPP is able to get the PNC out of power before Guyana reaches the bottom of the Ocean….

  6. Opposition Leader wants public debate with Gov’t – on closure of Wales estate
    A little too late for public debate:
    any and all debates were over in May once PNC get the nod from massa to go ahead and rule with their iron foot–again—-
    In power for 23 years you did not do too much for these people.
    You left them on their own to fend for selves so you out of power now you need them.
    The truth must be told to PPP supporters that PPP was too darn busy spending tax dollars in PNC strongholds infrastructures and totally neglect their PPP support stronghold villages.
    When asked why this is so Ramotar lied through his teeth saying it was contractors and inclement weather fault.

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