GuySuCo moves to set up committee for plan to mitigate impact of sugar worker layoffs

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) yesterday held a Stakeholder Engagement Session to enlist public sector agencies in the creation of a committee to implement the company’s Sustainable and Resilient Communities Programme, which is intended to support areas affected by the sacking of sugar workers.

According to a release from the sugar company, the meeting was held at the Staff Club at the GuySuCo Head Office at LBI, with the objective of mobilising additional public sector agencies to establish a coordinating committee to implement the Sustainaible and Resilient Communities Programme over the medium to long term in Skeldon, Rose Hall, Enmore, Wales and neighbouring communities.

The release explained that the discussions were centred on the three components of the programme—to build more economic, social and environmental resilience in the affected communities—and to elevate the implementation of the next level for more sustainability.

It said the meeting saw a presentation on the Sustainable Communities Programme and Alternative Livelihoods Initiative; discussion of the establishment of a Coordinating Committee/Partnership for implementing the programme with collaboration from the relevant ministries and organisations; a review of activities in the proposed Strategic Action Plan and Implementation Plan; and discussion on the Sustainable Communities Fund.

The release noted that the Strategic Action Plan focuses on the short, medium and long-term key actions, stakeholder responsibilities, timelines, key milestones, monitoring and evaluating and funding and a risks assessment.

The stakeholders include: the ex-employees; the sugar corporation; the Ministry of Business’ Small Business Bureau; the Ministry of Public Health’s Mental Health and Men’s Health Units; the Ministry of Presidency’s Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport; the regions 3, 4, 6 Regional Democratic Councils; the Ministry of Social Protection; the Ministry of Education’s Technical and Vocational Educational Programme; the University of Guyana; the Private Sector Commission; the Chambers of Commerce of Regions 3, 6 and Georgetown; and the religious community.

The release noted that the milestones will be divided into three categories: short-term, medium-term and long-term.

The short-term milestones include the establishment of a Sustainable Communities Fund, coordinating committee and counselling centres as well as the start-up of businesses for the ex-employees, all by May this year.

The medium-term goals are to start a Community Environment and Sanitation Industry, develop a process of scaling up startup businesses, reskill 2,000 ex-employees, and start the leasing of land for farming, which the sugar company hope to complete between May and December this year.

The long-term goals will see the development of First Communities with more economic, social and environmental resilience and the institutionalisation of the Sustainable and Resilient Communities Programme, which is expected to be completed by June, 2019.

According to the release, the Ministry of Business’ Small Business Bureau, the Ministry of Social Protection, the Ministry of Communities, the Ministry of the Presidency’s Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport, the President Youth Award Republic of Guyana and the National Trust were among the stakeholder agencies with representatives present at the meeting.

The release added that GuySuCo’s next move will be to consult and share the Strategic Action Plan with the regional administrations of Regions 3, 4 and 6 along with the Private Sector Commission, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other private sector organisations in the regions.

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