The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), together with Canada’s largest private sector union – UNIFOR – will convene a special one day conference titled “Sugar – too big to fail” on (Tuesday) September 04, 2018 at the Grand Coastal Hotel, Le Ressouvenir, East Coast Demerara.
The one-day event will bring together decision-makers, present and former sugar workers, GuySuCo executives, trade unionists, politicians, among others who will consider, the consequences and the ramifications of the decisions that have been taken with regard to the industry in recent times. Moreover, the one-day activity will reflect on the situation which now confronts thousands of Guyanese in the sugar belt. The conference will also seek to examine, rationally, the current state of the sugar industry and the avenues available to put the industry on the road to sustainability and viability.
The conference will receive presentations from a number of prominent personalities. Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo is also slated to provide the Opposition’s thoughts and concerns about the industry. NICIL-SPU Head, Colvin Heath-London is expected to inform participants about plans and programmes that will be implemented to safeguard the minimized GuySuCo using funding from the recently secured $30B bond.
Former GuySuCo General Manager, Vishnu Panday will deliver a presentation to point to the importance of proper agronomic practices towards improving production and productivity and, Vice President of the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) of Jamaica, Clifton Grant will give a presentation on the Jamaican workers experience following the privatization of that industry.
Previously, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had indicated he would provide a presentation on the Government’s behalf, but he advised GAWU yesterday that he could no longer attend the Conference. GAWU has since written to the government requesting a replacement.
Be that as it may, the conference will also hear from some of the former sugar workers who were employed at the closed estates. GAWU’s President, Komal Chand is expected to speak on the Union’s position with regard to the decisions on the sugar industry.
UNIFOR’s President, Jerry Dias will also address the conference and share his Union’s thoughts and concerns regarding the sugar industry and, from his own experiences, offer advice on what could be done on the painful road ahead.