GAWU in the dark about sugar in­vestors

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Guyana Agri­cul­tural and Gen­eral Work­ers Union (GAWU), though a stake­holder, is now forced to de­pend on me­dia re­ports to be aware that the Gov­ern­ment and the Guyana Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion Inc (GuySuCo) are en­gag­ing more than one for­eign in­vestors who have, re­port­edly, ex­pressed in­ter­est in in­vest­ing in the sugar in­dus­try.

The cur­rent visit and en­gage­ments men­tioned by the me­dia, we note, is taking place a month af­ter a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing ( MoU) was inked with a Trinida­dian firm re­gard­ing the di­vest­ment of the Skel­don Es­tate. That MoU, as it turned out, was signed De­cem­ber 08, 2016 and its ex­is­tence was only made known on De­cem­ber 31, 2016 when cer­tain Min­is­ters met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of our Union, the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Agri­cul­tural, Com­mer­cial and In­dus­trial Em­ploy­ees (NAACIE). On this mat­ter, we be­lieve, there is still much more than what meets the eye and which, even­tu­ally, would come to light.

The GAWU as an im­por­tant stake­holder urges, at this time, that the Gov­ern­ment and GuySuCo seek to up­date all stake­hold­ers re­gard­ing the on­go­ing de­vel­op­ments since the meet­ing of De­cem­ber 31, 2016. We make this call in the firm be­lief that GuySuCo as well as the Gov­ern­ment has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the em­ploy­ees of the in­dus­try who are threat­ened with job­less­ness and an un­cer­tain fu­ture. We are also mind­ful of the stance of Pres­i­dent Granger who re­cently com­mit­ted to have una­nim­ity and con­sen­sus in ar­riv­ing on the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the sugar in­dus­try. In the mean­time, our Union awaits the re­ceipt of a num­ber of re­quested doc­u­ments and other in­for­ma­tion it has sought through Min­is­ter of State, Joseph Har­mon.

GAWU also takes this op­por­tu­nity t o re­it­er­ate strong be­lief that the in­dus­try can over­come its cur­rent tra­vails and have a vi­able and sus­tain­able fu­ture. Es­tate clo­sures and sell­out are not wise choices and it will hurt work­ers as well as the econ­omy, an ob­ser­va­tion made by sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions and many pa­tri­otic and com­pe­tent Guyanese. Di­vest­ment in Ja­maica, we wish to point out, has had painful con­se­quences for the peo­ple there when some of the in­vestors sim­ply walked away from the in­dus­try last year. More­over, mov­ing along such a path (clo­sure and sell­out) is a grave de­par­ture from com­mit­ments made by the con­test­ing par­ties dur­ing the 2015 Na­tional and Re­gional elec­tions cam­paign.

Sev­eral pro­pos­als by the Sugar Com­mis­sion of In­quiry, the Trade Unions and se­ri­ous-minded per­sons to turn­around the sugar in­dus­try have been made and, we are con­vinced, de­serve the re­sources and gen­eral sup­port of the Gov­ern­ment and GuySuCo in the in­ter­est of the thou­sands of sugar work­ers and the coun­try. (Press Re­lease)

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