As the Government prepares to move ahead with plans to close the Rose Hall and Enmore estates in the next two weeks, the Private Sector Commission is now calling on the coalition government to not to close the estates.
In a statement, the PSC said it “continues to be dismayed at the Government’s decision to pursue the closure of sugar estates as the only solution to the crisis in the sugar industry.”
The Private Sector body recalled that back in August, it had proposed to the Government, that they enter into a public-private partnership for investment in and management of selected estates as a probable and effective alternative to closure.
“Indeed, it was our clear understanding, at a meeting the Commission held with Mr. Colvin Heath-London of NICIl, that the Government had determined to pursue such an option”, the PSC noted.
According to the PSC, “sugar has been the major employer of Guyanese for over a century and, until these drastic measures were taken, continued to be the largest employer of our labour force. Yet, unbelievably, our Government has no definitive plan to rescue the industry nor save its workers from unemployment and from the ensuing hardship which will inevitably result.”
Sugar started its downward spiral under the previous government when the European Union slashed the preferential prices. The last government has also closed a number of estates and was provided with over $30 billion by the EU to cushion the effects of the fall out.
The Government has indicated that it has provided money to ensure the severance pay of all the workers.