2018 will be more difficult for sugar workers – former Tug Captain

first_img…berates outgoing CEO for performanceBy Shemuel FanfairA former Tug Captain attached to the Wales Sugar Estate, Gordon Thomas has expressed much despondency regarding the future of sugar workers across the country, indicating the difficulties that lie ahead for the industry.This comes in light of reports that some 4000 sugar workers will lose their jobs by year-end.Former Tug Captain at Wales Sugar Estate, Gordon ThomasThomas, a vocal critic against the closure of the estates, told Guyana Times in a recent interview that much of the recent misfortunes registered in the ailing industry should be attributed to outgoing Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Errol Hanoman. The CEO is expected to part ways with the State entity when his contract expires at the end of this year.“It’s a great relief not only to the people in Wales but in the whole industry that Hanoman is finally gone. He misled this Government but there’s a saying: ‘too late, too late shall be the cry’… at the end of the day, the peoples’ cries were on Hanoman; workers are pleased that he is gone,” Thomas told this newspaper.Hanoman had resigned from the position under the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government in 2010, after just one year serving in the post and was rehired after the coalition Administration assumed office in 2015. On both occasions, it was reportedly observed that personal commitments were responsible for his leaving. Thomas, nevertheless, berated Hanoman for his performance, saying that the official did not make use of allocations from the State to assist in the industry’s operations.“2018 will continue to be more a difficult time for sugar workers, not only in Wales but in the entire industry. People continuing to feel the brunt, because there is no increase, no API and people’s morale are very low because of the management of GuySuCo,” the former Wales Tug Captain observed.In 2015, production reached 200,000 tonnes, but at the end of December last year, it was announced that 2016’s figure (183,652 tonnes) was the lowest production since 1990 when 129,920 tonnes of sugar had been recorded.Thomas further claimed that the current Administration has not been employing suitable managers to effectively run the industry.“The Government listens and takes instructions from people who don’t even have an idea of running this industry. It is a very sad moment for sugar workers. Unless you put the right people to run the industry, you wouldn’t get good results,” Thomas contended.His comments come on the heels of his fellow sugar workers highlighting the strain of not having enough money to meet their basic needs following the closure of the Wales Estate on December 31, 2016. To date, many workers are still coping without their severance payments as they opted against taking up employment at Uitvlugt Estate, located some 22 miles away.Some of the workers remarked that their wives were the only ones working which in some instances is putting a strain on how couples relate to one another. One of the workers who is awaiting his severance payment told this newspaper on Sunday that at times of argument, he was subjected to statements whereby his wife reminded him of his employment status.“All like how I am not working, sometime, you hearing wrong talk and all kind ah thing,” the former sugar worker who declined to be identified had observed.Since the closure of Wales, there has been the scaling down of other estates across the country – more than 3000 sugar workers across the Enmore, Skeldon and Rose Hall Estates were given letters of redundancy, in which their services were terminated.Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) President Komal Chand had remarked that Government could take steps to salvage the industry, saying that dismissed workers could be rehired so that they could properly provide for themselves and families.“We hope that these workers will be quickly rehired because they are facing very difficult times putting their children in school and to live,” Chand told Guyana Times earlier this month.last_img read more