People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali has promised a complete rejuvenation of communities across Guyana, which were affected in some way by the closure of the sugar estates. Thousands of persons lost their livelihoods as a result of the lay-offs.
During a meeting with residents of Belle Vue on the West Bank of Demerara, Ali said the Party is working on a plan which will ensure that these villages “rise again and be successful”. Residents of these communities, he said, should be rest assured that the Party is also committed towards social justice for these affected persons.
“We are working on a plan that will bridge, rejuvenate, resuscitate, reenergise and bring back life to these communities… These communities will rise again and be successful. Know that you have in the PPP, a leadership that is committed to social justice, economic justice and justice for you and your families and all those who were so severely affected when these estates were closed,” the PPP Presidential Candidate expressed.
He also posited that this period is a time for reflection on the circumstances which led to the present situation.
“As we reflect on the years, that we understand the journey of life that we understand where we were five years ago, where we are today and the circumstances that led to where we are today. This is an opportunity for us to remind each other that all must have a place to play and a part to play in removing injustices. In the struggles that we are going through, there is hope,” said Ali.
Ali reminded of some initiatives and social services which were made possible under the previous Administration that improved the lives of everyone.
“Over the years in all these communities, you would have seen many initiatives that were geared at improving the welfare of families, whether it was the uniform allowance, the transportation grant or all the other social services that would have been created when we were in Government.”
Operations at the Wales Sugar Estate ended on December 31, 2016 and some 375 workers who refused to take up employment at Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara, have remained without severance payments for almost two years, putting hundreds of families on the breadline and causing economic crisis to surrounding communities.
The Skeldon, Rose Hall and East Demerara (Enmore) estates were subsequently closed in December 2017. Over 7000 sugar workers were dismissed altogether from Skeldon, Rose Hall, Wales and East Demerara Sugar Estates.
The Opposition has signalled that these estates will be reopened should they return to power at the next General Elections which is constitutionally due by March 21 after the successful passage of the No-confidence Motion on December 21, 2018.