PPP condemns complete shutdown of LBI operations

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has condemned the recent revelation of Government’s impending plans to completely cease all operations at the La Bonne Intention (LBI), East Coast Demerara, Sugar Estate.

The LBI estate
The LBI estate

In a joint press statement from the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) on Thursday, it was disclosed that Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is moving to shut down the remaining operations at the ECD estate. According to the unions, this was indicated to them by the Sugar Corporation during a meeting on Tuesday.
However, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee “strongly condemns” the decision, saying it is being done in similar fashion as Wales Estate. Moreover, Rohee pointed out the convenient timing of this release, noting that it comes at a time when the Granger Administration has found itself in the midst of a host of controversies.
In fact, the General Secretary believes it is a deliberate act being done to divert attention from these “corrupt practices” within the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition.
“The sneaky approach used to announce the closure of LBI Estate reeks of an attempt to shift the public’s attention away from the swirling corruption scandals that are currently impacting heavily the APNU+AFC administration,” he remarked.
Rohee further outlined that cloaking the move to close another sugar estate as plans at “consolidating”, “integrating” and “merging” the East Demerara estates is unacceptable.
The PPP, he added, is of the view that collateral damage will result unquestionably with sugar workers in particular and workers in general from other related industrial and service providers being seriously affected in the same way as the workers at Wales Estate.
“The PPP in its campaign to save Wales Estate had publicly alerted sugar workers in particular and workers in general that it should come as no surprise to them should the anti-working class Granger administration move to shut down other sugar estates in the country,” he recalled.
Nevertheless, the PPP General Secretary said his party will continue to lend firm and unshakeable support and solidarity to sugar workers and their trade unions in their struggle to save the sugar industry and to beat back the anti-working-class policies of the Granger administration.
In 2011, GuySuCo under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, had closed the LBI Sugar Factory however the Corporation had assured that the other operations of the Estate would remain functioning.
However, the two unions representing sugar workers said during recent discussions, they were told that operations of the Field Workshop, Mill Dock, Field Lab, Stores and Administrative Offices at LBI Estate will be merged with similar operations at the Enmore Estate.
While GuySuCo have assured that workers will be deployed to the Enmore Estate, both unions are doubtful that full-time and regular employment will be available.