Private sector again urges gov’t to reconsider closure of sugar estates

The Private Sector Com-mission (PSC) yesterday said that it continues to be dismayed at the Government’s decision to pursue the closure of sugar estates    as the only solution to the crisis in the sugar industry.

In August of this year, the PSC said it proposed to the Government that they enter into a public-private partnership for investment in and management of selected estates as a probable and effective alternative to closure.  Indeed, the PSC said it was its understanding, at a meeting the Commission held with Colvin Heath-London of NICIl, that the Government had determined to pursue such an option.

“Sugar has been the major employer of Guyanese for over a century and, until these drastic measures were taken, continued to be the largest employer of our labour force.  Yet, unbelievably, our Government has no definitive plan to rescue the industry nor save its workers from unemployment and from the ensuing hardship which will inevitably result”, the PSC lamented.

“While the decision to close has been announced, we are again asking our Government to recognise the ensuing hardships placed on the communities served by and dependent on sugar and the consequential damage to the economy as a whole. We ask once more that our Government should think again”, the PSC implored.

By next week, 4,000 sugar workers will be on the breadline. This is aside from the hundreds who were retrenched when the Wales sugar estate was shuttered at the end of last year.

Despite numerous promises the APNU+AFC government has failed to come up with options for alternative employment. Many diversification projects have been spoken about but none has materialised.

It is also unclear if land will be made available to those being retrenched.

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