The East Berbice Sugar Workers Relief Committee yesterday distributed 500 food hampers, with an estimated total value of $2 million, to severed sugar workers in the Upper Corentyne Area.
Despite heavy showers, hundreds gathered at Line Path in hopes of receiving a hamper.
Adrian Anamayah, who heads the committee, stressed that the hampers were possible through donations from a number of business persons and others throughout the country. “This was no small task in getting all of this put together. There [were] small and large contributions and we must thank those persons who donated,” he added.
He said the 500 recipients received a bag of rice, bread, provisions and assorted groceries. “We don’t have a bank we can go and get unlimited resources. We depend on the good nature and kindheartedness of donors and that is why we were able to put together this,” added Anamayah, who is also a PPP/C Member of Parliament.
He further highlighted that although some 1800 persons were severed from the Skeldon Estate, the committee could have only afforded to put together 500 hampers. He said the 500 families who are in dire need of the items were selected. “I beg of you please be patient with us, there is more to come in time,” he told those assembled for the distribution.
One of the first workers who received a hamper was Ally (only name), 41, who noted that he was very thankful. “Them this thing gon’ help me family out. Right now, how we deh, anything people give, we gon, take,” the man, who is still unemployed after being severed at the end of last year, said.
Meanwhile, Juan Edghill, PPP/C Member of Parliament, who was also present yesterday, stated that he knew that the workers present believe in the “dignity of work,” as he reminded the gathering that none of them were “beggars.”
“You are dignified because of the life you have lived and you believe in hard work but we have a government who has denied you of work,” he said. He noted that yesterday’s distribution was a way of showing “solidarity” to the workers in their time of suffering and need. Since the closure of the estates in the region, the East Berbice Sugar Workers Relief Committee has been seeking to assist the former workers and their children. As part of its efforts, it has successfully started a hot meal programme for the children of sugar workers in the Upper Corentyne area.