The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) and the Ministry of Business are to hold business and investment forums for workers who were made redundant at the end of last year.
Around 4,000 sugar workers were let go by GuySuCo at the end of December and the government has been criticised for not having any alternative plans in place for them particularly since whole communities are at risk from the job losses.
A joint statement from the two yesterday said that GuySuCo and the Small Business Bureau of the Ministry of Business are jointly pursuing an Economic Resilience programme of which the Alternative Livelihoods Initiative is a part.
“The aim of the economic resilience component of the Sustainable Communities Programme is to implement shock-counteraction and shock-absorption measures to support ex-employees of GuySuCo as well as their families and residents in the these communities”, it said.
The programme is targeted at sugar–dependent communities in the vicinity of Skeldon, Rose Hall, Enmore and Wales Estates.
The statement said that under the Economic Resilience programme two ‘Business, Financial and Investment Forums’ and four ‘Coaching Clinics’ are planned for ex-employees of GuySuCo who will be receiving their severance packages at the end of January, 2018.
“The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. and the Ministry of Business, Small Business Bureau value the severance as capital, which could be used to foster economic growth for the ex-employees. Hence, the aim of the forums and clinics is to provide those ex-employees with business, financial and investment advice on available opportunities within these areas”, the statement said.
It said that the specific objectives of the forums and coaching clinics are to: Provide appropriate business, financial and investment advice to ex-employees who will be tapping severance payments; establishing a system for providing coaching in business, financial and investment for these ex-employees; create opportunities for them to garner advice on insurance, medical and pension packages; set up a system for formalising banking arrangements for those who are currently outside of the system and who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs; and establish a process for assisting interested parties to fulfill banking requirements, such as referees and recommendations.
The target groups for the forums and coaching clinics will be from Skeldon, Rose Hall, East Demerara and Wales Estates, as well as their family members.
The forums will be convened in the last week of January, 2018. One will be staged at the Enmore Community Centre for persons from East Demerara and Wales Estates, and another will be held at the Skeldon Community Centre for those from Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates.
The forum and clinics will focus on the following: Opportunities in investment, to purchase bonds and shares, banking services such as, fixed deposits, business ventures, insurance, medical and pension packages among others.
These activities will be coordinated by GuySuCo and the Ministry of Business and the Small Business Bureau. Banking institutions, Insurance companies, the Private Sector Commission and the Georgetown and Berbice Chambers of Commerce and Industry are “invited to facilitate sessions” on business, financial and investment opportunities, the statement said.