Hundreds of field and factory workers of Rose Hall Estate on Tuesday morning staged a protest outside the Estate’s Administrative Office objecting to plans by Government and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to close operations there.
The workers backed by their union, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) displayed placards as they vented their anger at the announcement made by the President recently that Albion, Blairmont, and Uitvlugt Estates will remain open, which to them was as an indication that Rose Hall is one fingered for closure.
Workers also reminded that just a few weeks ago Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo at the commemoration activity for the Rose Hall Martyrs promised that “Sugar will never die”.
However, they say they are now faced with the real prospect of joblessness and impoverishment.
Furthermore, the workers are convinced that the plans touted by Administration and GuySuCo officials offer little hope for a secured and bright future.
They say the closure of Rose Hall, should it proceed, would take a heavy toll on many communities. The town of New Amsterdam will also be affected adversely in a big way.
The Rose Hall estate employs some 2,400 persons; each aiding in the support of a family while some families depend solely on one of the estate workers income for survival.
Berbice Representative for GAWU, Harvey Tambron who stood with the more than 600 workers this morning, noted that the Wales Estate was ordered closed without any consultation with the Union which is the legal bargaining agent for the workers.
He says the Union is fearful that the Government is planning to do the same thing in Berbice.
GAWU in a released statement after the conclusion of the protests said that the closure of the Rose Hall estate- when an account is taken of workers, their families, shop owners, service providers and others- will affect several thousand of ordinary Guyanese.
Moreover the Union says it “finds it puzzling, indeed disheartening, that such plans are contemplated when other jobs, especially in the East Canje area, are simply unavailable. The schemes to bring suffering and misery to so many persons must be condemned and resisted by all right-thinking Guyanese.”