The downsizing of the sugar industry did not commence in 2016, but rather 1992, said President David Granger, who was at time delivering remarks at the opening of the Diamond-Golden Grove Magistrate’s Court, this morning.
Diamond-Grove, two decades ago, was primarily canfields, and the 23-year period between 1992 and 2015 witnessed the removal of 5,340 employees from the payroll of the Guyana Sugar Corporation, he said.

The president noted that Diamond estate, alone, severed 500 employees when it was closed in 2010. The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) was obliged to take the Corporation to Court to secure benefits for those employees, he added.

Granger said that the termination of sugar production released some 4,000 hectares of land for other purposes, which resulted in the emergence of a “thriving” human community out of the “rubble and stubble” of the cane-fields of Diamond Estate.

“Diamond-Grove now has its own banks, churches, commercial enterprises, hospital, insurance companies, mandirs, masjids, police station, pure-water supply system, restaurants, schools and supermarkets. The community, deservedly, now has its own Magistrate’s Court,” he said.

The Head of State noted that Diamond-Grove is one of the fastest growing settlements in the country, where more than 35,000 persons now reside.

In a bid to restructure the industry, which was said to be suffering from unfavorable global market prices, the Granger-led regime in 2016 opted to close several estates after it claimed that tens of billions of dollars were being used to prop up the industry with little or no return. The annual subventions, they reasoned, could be used to develop other sectors.

The Opposition, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), on the other hand, claims that the move has since sent tens of thousands of persons on the breadline. The party has promised to reopen these estates should it win the General and Regional Elections slated for March 2.

Since 2016, four estates – Skeldon, Rose Hall, Enmore and Wales – have been shuttered and transferred to the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).



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