Skip to content

“There are challenges” – Pres Ali to Crabwood Creek residents on cane production

  • by

…assures Govt steadfastly addressing issues facing industry

Issues of low cane production, proper compensation, and poor quality of cane were discussed with the Head of State, President Dr Irfaan Ali, on Thursday by residents of Crabwood Creek in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
Cane harvesters have bitterly complained about the harvest of cane three feet tall during the previous crop, when the normal growth size is about eight to 10 feet in height. According to workers, it is the same amount of work they were doing, but the shorter canes resulted in a substantial reduction in production, and hence reduced pay for them.
The issue was raised with President Ali when he visited Crabwood Creek on Thursday for a walkabout and engagement with residents. This followed requests by residents of that community, made when party representatives attended the recently concluded People’s Progressive Party congress.
President Ali, addressing the issue of sugar, pointed out that the sugar industry is currently being rebuilt. Noting that 5000 hectares will be under cultivation in the Skeldon area, he declared, “We have brought back thousands of jobs. We have paid severance to workers who were not paid, and we have given them cash grants. Right now, we need workers. We are not getting the workers that we need, that is why we have to expedite the mechanisation of the industry,” he said.
President Ali said his government is currently in discussion with members of the Cane Farmers Association, who have 9000 acres of land.
“The farmers wanting to get into red beans and black eye production. We are working with them, because part of what we want to do is to become self-sufficient in corn, soya, black eye and red beans, to the extent that we can export and satisfy the entire Caribbean needs,” he explained.
He added that steps are being taken to have the Skeldon Sugar Factory reopened. “There are challenges, but we are working on that. Outside of that, we have Rose Hall, which has been reopened. It was scrapped, and we brought back Rose Hall. We brought back all the jobs at Rose Hall, and if they are workers here in Crabwood Creek who are looking for jobs, we are ready for them. Let us get a list of all the sugar workers that are looking for jobs, because we are looking for workers,” Ali said.
Meanwhile, addressing the issue of poor production during the previous crop, Ali noted that discussions are ongoing, and Government is currently working with both Cuba and Brazil to have a higher variety of cane.
“I told the workers at Albion and at Blairmont that we are coming back before the end of next month to sit down with them, because we do not want them to suffer…This is a Government that cares about workers and a Government that cares about the sugar industry, and the Government came back and invested in the sugar industry because we know sugar can be viable,” President Ali said.
Workers have expressed concern over the extra work they have been asked to do for the same pay, and the president made arrangement for Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha to meet with sugar workers in the Upper Corentyne today to have the issue of compensation addressed.
Meanwhile, addressing a larger gathering at CWC, President Ali pointed out that despite the progress happening on the macro level, there is still a need to focus on community issues.
Crabwood Creek is considered an agriculture-based community.

Precautions against flooding
Meanwhile, Mustapha, who accompanied the president and also addressed the residents, said all the canals have been cleared as the ministry has taken precautions against flooding during the current rainy season. He noted that the ministry has been working with cash crop farmers and providing much needed assistance, while adding that huge budgetary allocations have been made for Crabwood Creek. He pointed out that $25 million has been allocated to the Crabwood Creek Water Users Association.
“We ask them to ensure that the farmers, who are the beneficiaries, benefit from these works,” he declared.
Additionally, four machines are currently working to clean canals in that community.
Moreover, President Ali has instructed that a sub-pharmacy be set up at the Crabwood Creek Health Centre.
Residents also requested that the Government consider making some of the backlands in Crabwood Creek into residential areas, and have them so regularised. Some 200 households are living in that community, some having been there since the year 2007.
The President has committed to having the issue examined.
The Head of State also noted that the Government is currently in discussions with investors in the Berbice River Bridge with the aim of ensuring that the efficiency and cost can be reduced and thus enhance competitive business.
“I am sure that whatever the outcome of those discussions, Region Six would be in a better place,” the President has posited. (G4)

The post “There are challenges” – Pres Ali to Crabwood Creek residents on cane production appeared first on Guyana Times.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.