Our union was bemused after it read that Agriculture Minister Noel Holder is being quoted in the January 16, 2018 Kaieteur News as saying that “in 1992, GuySuCo had nine estates and 38,000 workers”. The Minister, it seems, was given incorrect information by his officers or, maybe, by GuySuCo. At least, we hope that’s the case.
For Minister Holder’s edification, the 1992 Annual Report of GuySuCo at page 21 speaks to eight estates operable. We would be happy if Minister Holder could tell us about the ninth estate he speaks of.
The Minister also speaks to 38,000 workers in 1992. Our union which has been associated with the sugar industry for decades now cannot recall such a large number of employees being employed. Such numbers may have been engaged during the height of slavery and indentureship but would have fallen as technological advancements in the industry were implemented. For the Minister’s guidance, when the industry was nationalized in 1976 with eleven operable estates there weren’t 38,000 sugar workers.
We sincerely hope that this would prompt the good Minister to go back and double check the information he is receiving in order to avoid him speaking incorrectly.