Government is moving full force ahead in shutting down the sugar estates with hundreds of workers already receiving their letters of termination from both the Enmore and Rose Hall Estates. This adds to the hundreds who are already on the breadline after the closure of the Wales Estate.
Jagdeo pointed out in the National Assembly though that the government can take the alternative route and support the sector like the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) did when the bauxite industry was failing to ensure the welfare of the persons under its employ are protected. The bauxite industry is based in Linden in Region 10.
In explaining the difference in approach to two similar situations, Jagdeo reminded that the PPP/C kept the industry alive through multi-million dollar investments up until around 2002 when it managed to get Bossai to invest in the sector.
Jagdeo said the PPP/C could just have easily closed the industry but noted that he could not have done that given that it was the only source of employment for people in Linden at that time.
He explained that for those who were unable to remain in the industry, the PPP/C opened up opportunities for jobs in the area.
Jagdeo reminded that a business incubator was set up to help persons access cheaper loans, that a road to the farmlands was built, a call centre was constructed and that there was built a bettee syndicate arrangement with the miners and loggers.
Jagdeo noted too that the PPP/C invested heavily in housing, water infrastructure, health and education – all of which created jobs. He also noted that the town received more than $30B in electricity subsidies under the years of PPP/C rule.
Jagdeo contended that that’s how a visionary government deals with situations of that nature.
The Opposition Leader contended that there is no evidence based decision to close the industry as no impact or social risk assessment studies were done. As such, he contended that the decision to close the estates is a political one.
“They want the sugar workers to believe that they loved them and that they acted in their best interest and that’s why they had to fire them because of this intense love,” he stated.