Sugar workers, housewives, children, pensioners, shop keepers and others numbering about five hundred (500) last evening (January 27, 2016) marched through the fifteen (15) short streets of Old Patentia, West Bank Demerara – one of the nearest communities to Wales Sugar Estate – under the banner “Workers and Residents say: Wales is our lifeline – Don’t close” to appeal the decision to close Wales Sugar Estate later this year. The activity commencing from around 17:30h was conducted under the aegis of the Wales GAWU Branch and lasted just under two (2) hours.
The workers and villagers marched through several streets then proceeded to the vicinity of the Sugar Factory and then back to the Patentia Housing Scheme. At the Market Square, they gathered to listen to some members from their ranks. Cdes Talat Khan, Gordon Thomas and Mark Khan addressed the gathering on the impending closure of the Estate. The speakers focused on the suffering and hardship which would surely affect them should the bad and wrong decision to close the Estate holds.
Separately, and later in the evening, some members of the Goed Intent Assembly of God Church marched from their church to the vicinity of the factory and offered prayers. The Church, having among its congregation sugar workers, is undoubtedly concerned about the well-being of the people in the communities whose lives are so closely intertwined with the Estate.
This involvement of members of the villages in protest action is a clear demonstration of the unpopularity of the decision to close Wales Estate and the justified concerns that the people have at this time. The GAWU Branch Committee is contemplating other activities in on-going efforts to rescind and ill-thought out decision which will affect hundreds of workers and thousands more indirectly.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) reiterates that the decision to close the Estate is most unfortunate. The Union holds the view that a workable plan is possible to have the Estate overcome its present difficulties steps towards which we are aware have been taken in recent times. We join with the residents and the workers to call on the Government to halt pursuit of the decision to close the Estate. The Government should not ignore the real consequences that that will affect the future of the workers, their families and the communities.