‘Probably God Wanted Sugar Estates Closed’: Ramjattan 

Khemraj Ramjattan

GUYANA (NEWS ROOM) — The closure of four sugar estates, which has left thousands without a job, was the “correct” decision to make, says Minister of Public Security Khamraj Ramjattan,

He even argued that there may be divine intervention in the decision by the government.
“Probably it was destined that way. Probably God wanted it that way that we have to make the decision now,” Ramjattan told hundreds of workers who were sent home last December following the closure of the Enmore estate.

He said too that it was God’s intervention that oil is discovered at this time, “and we have found the oil.”

Ramjattan further argued that “right-sizing” of the estates was needed since it was not the “season” to continue pumping money into an unprofitable industry at a time when Guyana no longer enjoys preferential quotas and prices on the world market.

The Minister suggested that the need to consolidate operations in the past forced the closure of estates, referring to those closed at Port Mourant, LBI and Diamond.

And so, he said the Government was being prudent in deciding to close operations at Skeldon and Rose Hall in Berbice, Enmore on the East Coast and Wales on the West Bank of Demerara last year.

“The thing need certain closures…so what is the big deal?” he asked workers at Enmore.
He said that the severance pay to sugar workers is a “drag” on the economy but assured all workers that they will be paid.

“It is an extraordinarily difficult situation,” he stated.

According to Ramjattan, the continued multi-billion subsidies to keep the four estates going could have meant a “bust” to the entire Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and by extension the economy.

“We are right-sizing and in the process saving at least 9, 000 jobs,” Ramjattan declared. He was referring to those who will employed on the last three estates that will remain.

Those three estates – at Albion and Blairmont and at Uitvlugt on the West Demerara – is estimated to produce 147, 000 tonnes of sugar by 2020 to satisfy local and overseas markets.

“In the long run it is going to be better,” Ramjattan stated. – (https://newsroom.gy)