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|Agriculture Minister reiterates gov’t’s commitment to sugar workers’ welfare –at GUYSUCO’s champion workers’ appreciation ceremony|
|Sunday, 08 July 2012 21:41|
THE outstanding performance and contributions of 25 workers of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) was on Saturday celebrated as the industry reflected on yet another year of hard work and dedications.
The contributions of champion workers who were chosen from the Skeldon, Albion, Rosehall, Blairmont, Enmore, LBI, Wales, and Uitvlugt Sugar Estates and the Demerara Sugar Terminal were celebrated in pomp and style at Blairmont Community Centre, Region 5 (Mahaica/Berbice).
Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy saluted the workers for their outstanding contributions toward the development of the sugar industry.
“We are not just here today to celebrate the contribution of the 25 champion workers but, all the workers in the industry that continue to produce the best sugar in the world,” Dr Ramsammy said.
He urged them to continue to be committed to producing products that excel in every corner of the world, be it sugar or rum.
The industry, he said, now and, 300 years ago has been producing champion workers, when they were slaves and now as proud and free men and women of a sovereign nation.
The industry, he said continues to stand tall despite the many challenges and setbacks it has and continues to face.
In this regard, he said that certain sections of society have been using the setbacks and challenges to gain cheap political mileage instead of trying to help correct the mistakes and move forward as a united people.
While assuring that government will continue to safeguard the wellbeing of all sugar workers, he urged them to be on guard for those who will want to mislead and guide them to create mischief and to not allow the industry to become a political football as it is too important.
He also noted the past, present and future champion workers represent that special breed of people who brought the industry to where it is today and where it is going in the future.
“The hard work of our ancestors,” he said, “has and will continue to run through the veins of all Guyanese.”
Minister Ramsammy said that despite the many challenges the industry continues to achieve greater heights and that the PPP/C Government will continue to make the necessary interventions to weather the storms and crises both nationally and internationally.
“There are moments when there is going to be disharmony but we must not allow this to keep us down but rather resolve our differences and move on…we have workers who understand that sometimes they have to compromise because at the end of the day they know that the health of the industry is critical to all of us,” Minister Ramsammy explained.
The industry has been and will continue to be the ‘projectory’ for Guyana’s development, Ramsammy said.
While expounding on the potential of the industry, the minister said that Guyana is no longer producing sugar to build other societies abroad but, its own. “The global pricing mechanism and changing weather have also negatively impacted the growth of the industry over recent times….despite this we continue to come with new ideas to push forward,” he explained.
However, he said that the country’s sugar industry holds great opportunities in the future and therefore, requires the full cooperation from all it’s stakeholders and society.
While the industry, he said accounts for 15 percent of employment in Guyana, it is also facing difficulty sustaining a balanced workforce since the country’s job market has now broadened.
Ramsammy said the PPP/C Government over the years has demonstrated an outstanding track record when it comes to prudent management of the economy and, its resources and, that the sugar industry like any other sector speaks for itself.
Chief Executive Officer of GUYSUCO, Paul Bhim also urged the workers to continue to be committed in moving the industry forward and, to use the opportunity to reflect on the industry’s performance.
“After the first crop which commenced harvesting in January and ended in June we produced 70,000 tonnes of sugar ….production in the second crop fell and only 130,000 tonnes were produced, this poor performance continued this year where we only produced 71,000 tonnes,” Bhim explained.
This, he said was attributed to several factors, including poor turnout of harvesters and inclement weather.
However, he noted that industry will continue to strive to ensure that it rises above it’s weaknesses and challenges by re-focusing its approach.
Champion workers and their families were also treated to a reception with members of GUYSUCO’S Board of Directors and government officials in recognition of their contribution to the industry.
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