Gov’t providing assistance to Uitvlugt Estate sugar workers

Training opportunities available in several areas − VP

Workers from the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo) Uitvlugt Estate, who have been unable to work as a result of the factory experiencing mechanical problems will be provided with assistance from the government.

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo gave this assurance today when he met with the affected workers, to discuss ways in which the administration can provide support.

Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo during the meeting on Monday

Pointing to the current labour shortages, Vice President Jagdeo called on those in attendance to take advantage of training opportunities that are almost immediately available through the government.

He said training can be provided to as many as 500 persons in various areas.

“These are good paying jobs, but it is the type of industries that people are building into. So, in construction we have unlimited demand for carpenters and masons and welders and electricians to retrain, unlimited demand. A good paying job anywhere at this time, people would recruit you, even for retraining.

“If you can find me, coming out of this meeting, here and in the community, any number of people we can start the training programme almost immediately and assist you, so that when you come out you have a skill, that is marketable that will earn you much much more money.”  

Dr. Jagdeo also urged the workers to take advantage of the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) scholarships programme, noting that while the government had initially promised to offer 20,000 of these scholarships, that number has now been revised upward.

When the government took office in August 2020, the Uitvlugt estate, was starved of investment by the APNU+AFC regime, resulting in defunct machinery and low production rates.

The Vice President explained to the gathering that there was no economic reason for the APNU+AFC to close down the sugar estates, leaving some 7,000 workers on the breadline.

He made reference to the many families that suffered as a result of this inconsiderate move by the Coalition.

“That is why we made a commitment that we have to keep sugar going until every sugar worker, either has a job in a high price industry, converting sugar adding on some value added, allowing them to continue working there or alternately finding a job in another high paying sector for every sugar worker.”

The VP acknowledged that transitioning to other professions is not easy, however he assured that the PPP/C government is committed to assisting them fully throughout the process.

The Vice President said government is doing its best to keep the industry going because it understands the resulting socio-economic impact of closure. 

Noting the low wages currently available in the sugar industry, Dr. Jagdeo told the workers if they would like to remain at the estate, government will support the payment of wages and salaries for those who wish to work six days per week.

He said the government is prepared to work with them individually to find the best alternative to ensure they remain employed. Small grants are also available to those who want to start small businesses.

While highlighting that the industry is currently going through a hard time, the Vice President told the workers that enormous opportunities will soon be available to them.

The Vice President was accompanied by Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar.

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