If elected, A Partnership For National Unity (APNU) says that it will revisit the deals between the government and bauxite companies Rusal and Bosai, since both companies have failed to deliver on promises made to Guyanese.
During the party’s weekly press briefing on Monday, APNU executive member Aubrey Norton noted that “despite the lofty promises made by Rusal and Bosai, at the time when the Guyanese national bauxite patrimony was given to them by the PPP, the bauxite industry, which was the mainstay of the economy of Region 10 was deliberately allowed to be maintained at its lowest levels.” He noted that “none of the publicly promised new developments have taken place while the government has made excuses on behalf of the companies. Norton also criticized Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir for failing to enforce the law while Rusal is “blatantly and brazenly violating” the country’s labour laws.
Questioned as to how an APNU government will deal with Rusal and Bosai, APNU member Dr Rupert Roopnaraine said that the contracts that these companies have signed with the government will have to be re-examined. Speaking specifically about Rusal, Roopnaraine said that the company “cannot be permitted to flout the laws of the country as brazenly as they are doing.
“Their firing of the 50 bauxite workers; the threats of physical violence against workers; their refusal to sit with the recognized union of the bauxite workers are to my mind a complete insult to the country and show little respect for the laws of Guyana,” he said.
According to him, Rusal would have to account for its actions “and at the very least Rusal will have to toe the line when it comes to observing the laws of the country.” He said the company will have to make “a complete turnaround in relation to their behaviour towards the workers in the bauxite industry.”
Another APNU member Desmond Trotman pointed to several violations endured by Rusal workers when it came to occupational health and safety matters.
According to him, workers’ complaints were taken to the government but they were not addressed. He pledged that such matters would be a priority for an APNU government.
Regarding Bosai, APNU executive Lance Carberry pointed to several favourable concessions that government had granted the company but charged that the company had done nothing new to expand bauxite in the country. “Bosai has been simply scavenging reserves,” Carberry said.