Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2016, 6:48 by Denis Chabrol
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has confirmed that it will be moving ahead with plans to shut down all operations of the LBI Sugar Estate in accordance with plans that were made in 2011.
In a release on Thursday evening, the sugar company called out the unions (GAWU, NAACIE) for their contradictory positions on the closure of the estate.
According to GuySuCo up until, the statement was issued by the Unions, there was the belief that the workers understood and agreed with the need for the closure of the estate.
“Interestingly, the Unions have requested further information and have committed to work with GuySuCo to finalise the integration process over the coming weeks. Therefore, GuySuCo finds it strange, that having been a part of the integration process over the years and having made commitments to see the process to completion at recent meetings, the Unions would now issue this contradictory statement to the press,” the release stated.
It was noted that, since in 2011, GuySuCo , GAWU and NAACIE met with each worker in the LBI factory over a five (5) day period to discuss the closure of the LBI factory and their redeployment.
The factory was then closed in the same year and workers were redeployed to other positions within the Enmore Estate. In some instances the authorized manning levels were exceeded to accommodate the workers.
“GuySuCo and GAWU were fully involved in that process. Yet, the integration progress was not completed, since there are still two Milll Docks, two Field Workshops, two Field Laboratories, two Field Offices and two stores, within the EDE operations at LBI…It should be noted that the full integration process should have been completed since 2011 but this was not done,” the state-owned company claims.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo has criticized the move to close the estate as “another act that reflects the secretive approach that is characteristic of the APNU+AFC government, in relation to decisions that affect the lives of thousands of ordinary Guyanese.”
In a short statement Jagdeo pointed out the decision may very well lack transparency and was done without any consultation.
“I had warned that the callous and uncaring decision to close the Wales Sugar Estate was not the end of the ‘reform’ proposed and being advanced by APNU+AFC in the sugar industry. I had said that the Wales Estate was the first casualty. I am deeply disturbed by the news of this impending closure,” said the Leader of the Opposition.