Wales Estate closure
– slow business sales cited
By Shemuel Fanfair
Although the closure of Wales Estate is slated for yearend, a group of market vendors and sugar workers, who depend heavily on the entity for their sustenance, on Saturday complained that with the announcement of closure, business is very slow.
As a result, they are finding it difficult to pay bills and send their children to school. In this light, they have reiterated that the Wales Estate should be given “a second chance.”
Vendor Pam (only name given), stated that when the estate closes, she is unsure of just how she will afford to take care of her family.
“When this estate close down, me nah know if we gon get a biscuit or bread fuh eat, where dis money gon come from; you got bills fuh pay, tax fuh pay, water you pay by meter…since de people hear de announcement, [they’re holding in their money],” the woman stated.
Pork vendor Mary Clarke, who has lived in Wales for the past 40 years, explained that she is yet to decide on her future as when the estate closes, her financial life will change.
One worker, who said he has over 30 years’ service with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) called on President David Granger to ensure that the decision to close Wales is reversed.
“When meh hear de estate a close down, da is a nightmare in meh life…de money wah me draw yesterday (Friday), you got to pay monthly water meter, yo got all kind instalments. So we ah ask de President of the country to give de Estate a second chance because de President cares for de people, we care to de President and also to de estate,” the sugar worker noted.
Other vendors on the market raised concerns about the increase of criminal activities in the area. Vendor, Bibi Rameshwar, a Bellvue, WBD, resident noted that her pension is assisting in her survival as sales are already slow in the area.
The woman further explained that her son has been working with the estate for the past 20 years but he has not been told when he would receive his severance package.
GuySuCo and the unions representing sugar workers, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) are currently engaged in a High Court battle over GuySuCo not consulting the unions on the workers’ employment status.
The High Court matter will be called on July 7 as the sugar corporation requested time to respond to the litigation on the grounds that it was not properly notified.
Meanwhile sugar operations at Wales will close by yearend.