− says it will restore life to surrounding communities
The reopening of the Rose Hall Estate in East Berbice-Corentyne, for which a recruitment drive was started on Thursday last, is scheduled for October 2022 as the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is currently undertaking inspections and remedial work to get the estate ready.
In an interview with the media, Rose Hall Estate Manager Balraj Dhanraj spoke of the efforts to reopen the estate. According to him, the estate is on course for its rescheduled reopening in October of 2022, set within the second crop.
“We agreed that the reopening could be possible at October or the second crop, 2022. So we put all those programmes onto a bar chart, so we’re able to track the progress as we go along and we’re able to meet that scheduled opening date,” he said.
Dhanraj explained that a great deal of work will have to go into making sure the factory is ready for reopening. This includes completing inspection of the factory, repairs and maintenance, replacing parts and of course tilling the fields, which has been put on hold due to inclement weather.
“So the plan for the factory is to open and inspect all the units in the factory. There are numerous units and the plan is to open and inspect them. This is to ensure they are mechanically and electrically sound. And apart from that, (we have to check that) they are safe to operate.”
“In these rehabilitation projects we have the opportunity to replace all the defective equipment. Some of the work that we are presently undertaking as per section, like in the pre-milling department we are servicing gantry, the cane carriers, the turbines. That is important.”
Meanwhile, Dhanraj noted the importance the reopening of the estate has on the surrounding communities. He posited that these communities will flourish once persons can gain employment and money can start circulating again.
“If they are not skilful, we will embark on training. So regardless who comes for employment, we will take it upon ourselves to train them. The opening of the estate, I must say, is going full steam ahead,” the Manager said.
“Right now, the people that are working here, they’re giving hope to this community. And when that hope is realised, you will see a rejuvenated community. You will see flourishing businesses in this community. You will see people will have more spending power. The standard of life will improve.”
Some 7000-plus sugar workers were placed on the breadline after the APNU/AFC Administration downsized the industry and shut down four estates across the country.
Many of those workers have not been able to secure permanent jobs and remain on the breadline years later. However, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), during the 2020 election campaign trail, had promised to reopen those estates and rehire those sacked workers.
Back in 2016, the former APNU/AFC closed the Wales Estate, and the following year, shut down the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates, putting over 7000 sugar workers on the breadline. The downsizing of the sugar industry resulted in only the Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion Estates in operation. Since the PPP/C Administration assumed office in August 2020, they have been putting systems in place to reopen the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates.
Due to the deteriorating state of the Wales factory, that estate will be converted into the Wales Development Authority – an industrial facility that will see the development of not only agriculture but agro-industries, processing facilities, manufacturing and other sectors to drive economic activities. Additionally, Government, through GuySuCo, has already rehired over 700 sugar workers. (Guyana Times)