Government should rescind sugar workers’ termination letters

Dear Editor,

It is becoming clearer with each passing day that the CEO and the entire Board of Directors of the Guyana Sugar Corpora-tion should be made redundant. Their incompetence is matched by the low production target which is expected next year and the fact that they are incapable of making the right decisions.

The recent imbroglio with the redundancy letters crammed down the throats of the poor sugar workers at Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates is proof of the inability of the top management structure to make the right decisions. What is disappointing, disgusting and intolerable,  constituting a direct insult to our government is that these people would have known about the commitment made to the sugar workers by Minister of State Joseph Harmon when he said that the closing of these estates and the redundancies would have been postponed until 2018. Why have they insisted on embarrassing the government?

GuySuCo’s top management should have communicated its intentions to the Minister of Agriculture who in turn should have communicated to the Minister of State. GuySuCo it seems is operating like a state within a state. If this is the type of communication GuySuCo’s top management is displaying then it is not a mystery any more why the industry continues to decline at this rapid pace. It should be recalled that after the 2015 general elections GuySuCo’s top management complained about ‘political interference’ and this was accepted, but it seems that management forgot that the government has been ploughing billions of dollars into GuySuCo with dwindling returns, therefore it is the government which should make the final decision with regard to the termination of the sugar workers’ services. GuySuCo is a state entity and management should not behave as though the government has no role to play. The government must make that final decision and not GuySuCo.

GuySuCo’s top management has also failed to communicate to workers about the plans they have to assist them. They sit in air-conditioned offices and feel that it is their prerogative to dictate what must be done  and how it must be done, disregarding the sensitive nature of their negative actions. Workers are human beings; is that how GuySuCo enforces its human resources policies? No wonder there is such a poor labour turnout in the sugar industry. These management people have not shed the ‘massa days’ ideology.

GuySuCo should have at least issued a press release on the matter and sought advice from Cabinet. Workers are very confused and need straight answers. Every day my office is bombarded with 15 to 20 sugar workers begging for information about what their fate is going to be and what will be done to assist them. I explained that this will happen next year but before then the government will outline a detailed plan of what assistance they will be given. All of that is now water on a duck’s back. What will I tell them now?

I am appealing to my government to rescind those termination letters and take a serious look at the GuySuCo management structure if they want to remain in the sugar business.

Yours faithfully,

Gobin Harbhajan

Former Board of Directors

Skeldon Electricity Inc

Regional Democratic Council

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