‘It’s going to get better’ – President Ali assures Blairmont estate workers

His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Wednesday engaged several employees at the Blairmont Sugar Estate in Region Five to address their concerns about the factory’s operations, which are currently affected by the prolonged dry weather.

The workers had sought the president’s intervention, as the current situation was affecting their livelihoods.

President Ali engaged several employees at the Blairmont Sugar Estate

President Ali reassured that the estate’s operations will improve significantly and pledged to have face-to-face discussions with all workers to find ways in which the government can provide support.

“We didn’t expect the weather to be so bad in the first crop which is affecting things and that is why I wanted to come out and see the factory workers and the harvesters because this will have an impact on the pay structure…That is why I am encouraging you [to] don’t be afraid to speak. I am out here to listen to you,” the head of state affirmed during the engagement.

On Saturday, a team organised by the Office of the President is expected to meet with harvesters who were absent from the meeting to find solutions regarding their payment as well.

“We are going to work [on] a solution because I know the weather; you’re not meeting the weight and that is an implication on your earnings,” the president expressed.

He reiterated that significant investments are being pumped into the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuco) to optimise production and mechanise its operations.

The head of state further explained that a higher variety of canes are also being sought to maximise production.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali at the Blairmont estate in Region Five

Despite the weather, GuySuco is moving ahead to produce 100,000 tonnes of sugar this year and a target of 140,000 tonnes is set for 2025.

“It’s going to get better. We’re investing in GuySuco [and] we’re building back the fields; we’re building back the production…And then next year it should get better because you’ll have 5,000 hectares of land prepared and replanted,” the president said, noting that this will allow factories to work at optimal capacity.

The government earmarked a whopping $6 billion in the national budget this year, as part of its efforts to improve the production and operational efficiency of the sugar industry.

The PPP/C Administration promised in its 2020-2015 manifesto, to revive the sugar industry and reenergise local communities, following the shutdown of the industry under the previous coalition government.

In just under three years, the PPP/C reopened the Rose Hall Estate, which recommenced operations in 2023.

Since 2020, significant investments have been injected into the rehabilitation and modernisation of sugar factories and cane fields, and over 4,600 workers were rehired, bringing total employment to over 8,100 employees across the industry.

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