IUF affiliates in Guyana have welcomed a decision by the Government (elected in 2020) to reverse the decision of its predecessor to close sugar estates. GAWU and NAACIE fought the closures from the first announcement of plans in 2016.
- The new Government has committed to re-open the Skeldon, Rose Hall and Enmore sugar estates which previously employed approximately 5,600 workers. Preliminary estimates indicate that it will take 3 to 5 years for the estates to return to full production
- The Guyana Sugar Corporation, GUYSUCO, is fully owned by the Government of Guyana and currently contributes about 9.5% to the country’s GDP. It is major foreign exchange earner for the country. GUYSUCO employs around 18,000 people
- The campaign to stop the closure of the sugar estates was supported by the IUF and its affiliates through appeals to the Government, solidarity and protest messages and on-site visits by the Caribbean Regional Committee
GAWU’s General Secretary, Seepaul Narine, who was elected to parliament in the 2020 elections said, “We are deeply pleased with the Government’s decision to reopen Skeldon, Rose Hall and Enmore Estates. We believe that closure was a step in the wrong direction and ignored the social and economic vacuum it created. We in GAWU strongly hold that sugar has a viable and sustainable future.”