Approximately 227 workers were terminated by Australian mining company Troy Resources earlier this week, and the Opposition Leader has left no stone unturned as he bashed the coalition Government for their failure to protect the jobs of the workers.
At his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo argued that the current administration was aware of the cash flow issues which surround Troy Resources, but failed to secure the jobs of the now unemployed workers. He indicated that while Government had issued statements to show their concerns, action on their part during the preceding series of events could have saved the jobs of the aggrieved workers.
Generally, he noted, the cabinet is incapable of preserving the occupation of the Guyanese public.
“The Government says it was ‘surprised’ and ‘distressed’ when Troy Resources sent home almost 400 people. Now, this is the height of incompetence. This Government knew all along that this company had cash flow problems. If they didn’t know that, they’re incompetent, because they were engaged with the company”.
He added, “They knew this was coming, but they’re so incompetent that they couldn’t deal with it. And they cannot deal with any situation to preserve jobs…They just don’t know what to do. So what happened is that (Junior Social Protection Minister) Keith Scott just went and issued a cease order and just pushed the company over the top. They (the company) were already there at the precipice, and they (Government) just pushed them over.”
After the news of the termination was announced, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had expressed sadness that these workers would be jobless just weeks before Christmas. However, Jagdeo, the former Head of State, reminded that the coalition administration had fired thousands of Skeldon sugar workers during the 2016 Christmas season, thereby dismantling their credibility as an administration.
Presently, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has expressed displeasure with the outcome, and has promised to stand by the sacked workers.
“How do you being distressed in the cabinet help to secure jobs for workers? Then they say it’s unconscionable and drastic, particularly when we’re heading in the Christmas season. We in the PPP are on the side of these workers. We’re very unhappy that they’re losing their jobs, but people are losing their jobs everywhere because a great deal of it is because of the incompetence of this Government. They don’t have any credibility in the cabinet to mention words like ‘unconscionable’ and ‘Christmas season’ when they terminated 2000 sugar workers in December 2016 at Skeldon. How can you speak with credibility when you did that? The state did that to sugar workers,” he contended.
An internal memo circulated by Troy Resources indicated that the workers would be paid their severance by today (Friday, November 22). It was initially reported that 386 workers were sent off base with their jobs in limbo until the company could decide on a way forward, while the company kept over 100 of the remaining employees on the ground at its mining operations in Karouni, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
During an interaction with the media while facilitating a tour last week, Troy Resources’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ken Nilsson had spoken of pressure being brought on his company. Nilsson spoke about the financial cost being incurred to keep the remaining operations functioning.
It is understood that all but its exploration activities were suspended in the wake of the death of Geologist Ryan Taylor in a mining pit accident. Nilsson had explained that it costs a hefty sum per day to maintain the remaining workers in the downsized operation.