Sugar workers call for Komal Chand to resign…say he failed to represent their interest after collecting millions in union dues

https://guyanatimesgy.com/suga...mal-chand-to-resign/

Sugar workers call for Komal Chand to resign

…say he failed to represent their interest after collecting millions in union dues
…hundreds more to be dismissed, economic genocide being committed

Hundreds of sugar workers and senior persons in the sugar industry are dissatisfied with the way the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) had handled the sudden closure of sugar estates along with severance benefits and other issues relative to the sugar industry, and they are calling on GAWU President, Komal Chand, to resign.

GAWU President Komal Chand

Guyana Times spoke with several workers in the sugar belt, and they say they felt betrayed when GAWU agreed to accept that only some sugar workers who were dismissed would get their full severance at the end of January.
The meeting the workers were referring to was held between the Union and Government on Friday last, to discuss severance. The Union had initially stated its disapproval at having workers receive part of their severance; but at the end of that meeting, Chand was quoted in the press as saying that he was pleased with the outcome, as he noted that the Union is now committed to working with the Administration.
A worker from Enmore, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper that the situation in the sugar industry has only worsened under Chand’s leadership.  He claimed the Government which owned GuySuCo was committing genocide against sugar workers because with no jobs how will the thousands of workers and their families survive. The sugar worker claimed that Chand has lost his zeal, and cannot now serve the interest of the workers anymore.
Another worker pointed out that in fact GAWU did very little for them since the issue of severance is directed by law and not the Union. According to the worker, GAWU should have been fighting for estates to remain open.

Another worker noted that Chand, although having been leader of the Union for many years, had presided over the firing of thousands of workers, sending them into hopelessness. He added that having for years collected Union dues, GAWU should have done a better job in representing the workers at their darkest hour.

Another former estate worker feels that for GAWU to win the battle in these difficult times the industry faces, the Union would need a new leader; one who has the capacity to represent and deliver.
“There are other good leaders in the Union who are being suppressed. He has served his time, and needs to give others a chance to represent the workers. The Union is lacking strong representation with Chand at the helm, and this is the time we need strength to fight,” the worker opined.
Contacted for a comment on the workers’ contentions, Chand told Guyana Times he does not in any way feel he has betrayed the workers.
More dismissal
Meanwhile, several hundred workers who were retained at Skeldon, Rose Hall, East Demerara and Wales estates to work with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) would soon be made redundant, according to GAWU. This comes mere weeks after hundreds of workers were dismissed and the Government approved supplementary provision to offset partial severance payments to thousands of displaced workers.
GAWU claims being informed of this decision by the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo), and that the workers identified for retrenchment would be notified shortly.
These workers were mainly retained as the sugar company was seeking to provide certain services to the NDIA. Unfortunately, an arrangement in that respect has fallen through, and the workers are now facing redundancy.
GAWU, on Monday, said further expansion of unemployment in the sugar belt is without doubt making a “really bad situation even worse.” Given the absence of any plans to deal with the fallout from the closure of several estates and the fiasco that has surrounded the workers’ severance payment, this pending retrenchment has been described as “heart-rending.”

Original Post

So many articles on the Sugar Estates, hard for someone to figure out what is the real deal.  This was an old one, wonder what happened to this plan.

A Trinidad and Tobago firm is likely to rake in major benefits from the Guyana Government, including favourable tax incentives for the development of an integrated sugarcane processing facility at the Skeldon Sugar Estate, after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked in December.

From left: DRCL Representative Ivan Cabrera, DRCL Director Avinash Rampersad, DRCL Chairman Nirmal Rampersad, Minister Noel Holder, GuySuCo CEO Errol Hanoman, DRCL Local Representative Noel Shewjattan and GO-Invest CEO Owen Verwey

Government, through its Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), signed the MoU with D Rampersad and Company Limited (DRCL) on December 8, 2016, for the undertaking of a feasibility study to determine the success of such a venture which will see it taking over the Skeldon Estate. The MoU was signed without full disclosure to the Guyanese public and without any public notice or public tender. The company has no experience with any agricultural enterprise, and provides engineering services to the automotive and oil industries in T&T.

Notably, however, as witness to the signing was Noel ‘Rupie’ Shewjattan, the owner of Auto Fashion Store on Garnett Street, Campbellville, Georgetown. Auto Fashion Store also has no experience in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, in the MoU, which was seen by this publication, the Company believes that the sugar industry in Guyana can be “regenerated” by the proposed project, which would not be producing sugar.

MASSIVE INCENTIVES

DRCL is slated to benefit tremendously if its project proposal is approved by the current coalition Administration. From the size of DRCL’s operations in Trinidad, it appears doubtful it would be able to finance a project of the magnitude proposed.
According to the MoU, some expectations in the event a definitive agreement is entered into would include access to key infrastructure, favourable combination of tax incentives, and land for sugarcane cultivation and infrastructure.
The company is also set to receive reasonable approval cycles, guarantees on minimum product take-off by the Government with respect to electric power and fuel ethanol, guaranteed pricing formulae and power export provisions.
This means that while the company will convert sugar cane into ethanol and electricity from bagasse, the Government will assume the responsibility of purchasing the products at some yet undisclosed price. For ethanol to be used as fuel by motor vehicles, their engines would have to be modified. It was not disclosed if the Guyana Government or DRCL would bear the cost of the engine modification.
The feasibility study is proposed to commence on April 3 and to be completed in the first quarter of the year.

PROJECT
The integrated sugarcane processing facility will include developing an integrated sugar-to-ethanol and electric power project. While sugar will not be produced, the Skeldon factory will still have to process the sugar cane all the way to the molasses stage, but the diffuser for extracting the sugar will become redundant.
Basically, the feasibility study will examine the cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane and sugarcane processing.
It will also look at the production of fuel-grade ethanol, and the production of bulk rum for local, regional and international markets.
The feasibility study will also focus on power production from bagasse, production of high-test molasses, the construction of a liquid bulk terminal and the development of a solar power generation facility. The findings of the feasibility study will provide critical information and set the platform to make a definitive project proposal to the Government of Guyana.Meeting
The present Administration has been very critical of the Skeldon Estate and has conveyed impressions of wanting to privatise the factory and its corresponding operations.
Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had told media operatives that Government received a number of Expressions of Interest from parties desirous of purchasing the Skeldon Estate, as well as the overall Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
Late last year, Holder met with a delegation from DRCL to discuss its proposal.
During this meeting, the Agriculture Minister maintained that Government was open to investing through land leasing agreements. At that meeting, DRCL was represented by its Director, Avinash Rampersad. The company’s local representative, Shewjattan was also present.
Government is pushing towards this project in an effort to promote its green economy initiative, while at the same time dismissing the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP)) – which a Norwegian firm recently deemed as the only realistic path for the country to move towards an emissions-free electricity sector. Norway has already allocated US$80 million towards the realisation of AFHP.
Instead, Government wants to pursue wind energy even though the Norway Report considered hydropower the best option for Guyana.
In fact, the report proves that wind energy – at least in the capacity in which Government is currently pursuing – will not support Guyana’s commitment to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
Lloyd Singh, a known Alliance For Change (AFC) financier who constructed the AFC headquarters, is currently negotiating with AFC General Secretary and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson for a Power Purchase Agreement that was never tendered for, for the development of a wind farm at Hope Beach. (Guyana Times)

alena06 posted:

So many articles on the Sugar Estates, hard for someone to figure out what is the real deal.  This was an old one, wonder what happened to this plan.

A Trinidad and Tobago firm is likely to rake in major benefits from the Guyana Government, including favourable tax incentives for the development of an integrated sugarcane processing facility at the Skeldon Sugar Estate, after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked in December.

From left: DRCL Representative Ivan Cabrera, DRCL Director Avinash Rampersad, DRCL Chairman Nirmal Rampersad, Minister Noel Holder, GuySuCo CEO Errol Hanoman, DRCL Local Representative Noel Shewjattan and GO-Invest CEO Owen Verwey

Government, through its Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), signed the MoU with D Rampersad and Company Limited (DRCL) on December 8, 2016, for the undertaking of a feasibility study to determine the success of such a venture which will see it taking over the Skeldon Estate. The MoU was signed without full disclosure to the Guyanese public and without any public notice or public tender. The company has no experience with any agricultural enterprise, and provides engineering services to the automotive and oil industries in T&T.

Notably, however, as witness to the signing was Noel ‘Rupie’ Shewjattan, the owner of Auto Fashion Store on Garnett Street, Campbellville, Georgetown. Auto Fashion Store also has no experience in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, in the MoU, which was seen by this publication, the Company believes that the sugar industry in Guyana can be “regenerated” by the proposed project, which would not be producing sugar.

MASSIVE INCENTIVES

DRCL is slated to benefit tremendously if its project proposal is approved by the current coalition Administration. From the size of DRCL’s operations in Trinidad, it appears doubtful it would be able to finance a project of the magnitude proposed.
According to the MoU, some expectations in the event a definitive agreement is entered into would include access to key infrastructure, favourable combination of tax incentives, and land for sugarcane cultivation and infrastructure.
The company is also set to receive reasonable approval cycles, guarantees on minimum product take-off by the Government with respect to electric power and fuel ethanol, guaranteed pricing formulae and power export provisions.
This means that while the company will convert sugar cane into ethanol and electricity from bagasse, the Government will assume the responsibility of purchasing the products at some yet undisclosed price. For ethanol to be used as fuel by motor vehicles, their engines would have to be modified. It was not disclosed if the Guyana Government or DRCL would bear the cost of the engine modification.
The feasibility study is proposed to commence on April 3 and to be completed in the first quarter of the year.

PROJECT
The integrated sugarcane processing facility will include developing an integrated sugar-to-ethanol and electric power project. While sugar will not be produced, the Skeldon factory will still have to process the sugar cane all the way to the molasses stage, but the diffuser for extracting the sugar will become redundant.
Basically, the feasibility study will examine the cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane and sugarcane processing.
It will also look at the production of fuel-grade ethanol, and the production of bulk rum for local, regional and international markets.
The feasibility study will also focus on power production from bagasse, production of high-test molasses, the construction of a liquid bulk terminal and the development of a solar power generation facility. The findings of the feasibility study will provide critical information and set the platform to make a definitive project proposal to the Government of Guyana.Meeting
The present Administration has been very critical of the Skeldon Estate and has conveyed impressions of wanting to privatise the factory and its corresponding operations.
Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had told media operatives that Government received a number of Expressions of Interest from parties desirous of purchasing the Skeldon Estate, as well as the overall Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
Late last year, Holder met with a delegation from DRCL to discuss its proposal.
During this meeting, the Agriculture Minister maintained that Government was open to investing through land leasing agreements. At that meeting, DRCL was represented by its Director, Avinash Rampersad. The company’s local representative, Shewjattan was also present.
Government is pushing towards this project in an effort to promote its green economy initiative, while at the same time dismissing the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP)) – which a Norwegian firm recently deemed as the only realistic path for the country to move towards an emissions-free electricity sector. Norway has already allocated US$80 million towards the realisation of AFHP.
Instead, Government wants to pursue wind energy even though the Norway Report considered hydropower the best option for Guyana.
In fact, the report proves that wind energy – at least in the capacity in which Government is currently pursuing – will not support Guyana’s commitment to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
Lloyd Singh, a known Alliance For Change (AFC) financier who constructed the AFC headquarters, is currently negotiating with AFC General Secretary and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson for a Power Purchase Agreement that was never tendered for, for the development of a wind farm at Hope Beach. (Guyana Times)

Gyal nah mek me laugh now.  I used to teach this dude in high school.  He could barely spell his name.  I had to fail him a couple of times.  Guyana is one big joke of a country.

Bibi Haniffa posted:
alena06 posted:

So many articles on the Sugar Estates, hard for someone to figure out what is the real deal.  This was an old one, wonder what happened to this plan.

A Trinidad and Tobago firm is likely to rake in major benefits from the Guyana Government, including favourable tax incentives for the development of an integrated sugarcane processing facility at the Skeldon Sugar Estate, after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked in December.

From left: DRCL Representative Ivan Cabrera, DRCL Director Avinash Rampersad, DRCL Chairman Nirmal Rampersad, Minister Noel Holder, GuySuCo CEO Errol Hanoman, DRCL Local Representative Noel Shewjattan and GO-Invest CEO Owen Verwey

Government, through its Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest), signed the MoU with D Rampersad and Company Limited (DRCL) on December 8, 2016, for the undertaking of a feasibility study to determine the success of such a venture which will see it taking over the Skeldon Estate. The MoU was signed without full disclosure to the Guyanese public and without any public notice or public tender. The company has no experience with any agricultural enterprise, and provides engineering services to the automotive and oil industries in T&T.

Notably, however, as witness to the signing was Noel ‘Rupie’ Shewjattan, the owner of Auto Fashion Store on Garnett Street, Campbellville, Georgetown. Auto Fashion Store also has no experience in the agricultural sector.
Meanwhile, in the MoU, which was seen by this publication, the Company believes that the sugar industry in Guyana can be “regenerated” by the proposed project, which would not be producing sugar.

MASSIVE INCENTIVES

DRCL is slated to benefit tremendously if its project proposal is approved by the current coalition Administration. From the size of DRCL’s operations in Trinidad, it appears doubtful it would be able to finance a project of the magnitude proposed.
According to the MoU, some expectations in the event a definitive agreement is entered into would include access to key infrastructure, favourable combination of tax incentives, and land for sugarcane cultivation and infrastructure.
The company is also set to receive reasonable approval cycles, guarantees on minimum product take-off by the Government with respect to electric power and fuel ethanol, guaranteed pricing formulae and power export provisions.
This means that while the company will convert sugar cane into ethanol and electricity from bagasse, the Government will assume the responsibility of purchasing the products at some yet undisclosed price. For ethanol to be used as fuel by motor vehicles, their engines would have to be modified. It was not disclosed if the Guyana Government or DRCL would bear the cost of the engine modification.
The feasibility study is proposed to commence on April 3 and to be completed in the first quarter of the year.

PROJECT
The integrated sugarcane processing facility will include developing an integrated sugar-to-ethanol and electric power project. While sugar will not be produced, the Skeldon factory will still have to process the sugar cane all the way to the molasses stage, but the diffuser for extracting the sugar will become redundant.
Basically, the feasibility study will examine the cultivation and harvesting of sugar cane and sugarcane processing.
It will also look at the production of fuel-grade ethanol, and the production of bulk rum for local, regional and international markets.
The feasibility study will also focus on power production from bagasse, production of high-test molasses, the construction of a liquid bulk terminal and the development of a solar power generation facility. The findings of the feasibility study will provide critical information and set the platform to make a definitive project proposal to the Government of Guyana.Meeting
The present Administration has been very critical of the Skeldon Estate and has conveyed impressions of wanting to privatise the factory and its corresponding operations.
Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had told media operatives that Government received a number of Expressions of Interest from parties desirous of purchasing the Skeldon Estate, as well as the overall Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
Late last year, Holder met with a delegation from DRCL to discuss its proposal.
During this meeting, the Agriculture Minister maintained that Government was open to investing through land leasing agreements. At that meeting, DRCL was represented by its Director, Avinash Rampersad. The company’s local representative, Shewjattan was also present.
Government is pushing towards this project in an effort to promote its green economy initiative, while at the same time dismissing the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP)) – which a Norwegian firm recently deemed as the only realistic path for the country to move towards an emissions-free electricity sector. Norway has already allocated US$80 million towards the realisation of AFHP.
Instead, Government wants to pursue wind energy even though the Norway Report considered hydropower the best option for Guyana.
In fact, the report proves that wind energy – at least in the capacity in which Government is currently pursuing – will not support Guyana’s commitment to reach 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
Lloyd Singh, a known Alliance For Change (AFC) financier who constructed the AFC headquarters, is currently negotiating with AFC General Secretary and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson for a Power Purchase Agreement that was never tendered for, for the development of a wind farm at Hope Beach. (Guyana Times)

Gyal nah mek me laugh now.  I used to teach this dude in high school.  He could barely spell his name.  I had to fail him a couple of times.  Guyana is one big joke of a country.

How feasible is the feasibility of this feasibility study. lol

 

Bibi Haniffa posted:
 

Gyal nah mek me laugh now.  I used to teach this dude in high school.  He could barely spell his name.  I had to fail him a couple of times.  Guyana is one big joke of a country.

You should pat yourself on the shoulder. Because of you, he is a better person today. 

GAWU, the PPP/C and the Goose that laid the golden egg


Dear Editor,
None of us can find comfort in the plight of the close to five thousand sugar workers who recently found themselves on the breadline. When the dust finally settles, we must, as a nation, ask ourselves why were we so ill-prepared for this eventuality which was long in coming but which we steadfastly chose to ignore.
At the core of this mess has been the poor and disruptive leadership of GAWU which positioned itself as a fierce adversary of the industry rather than as a partner committed to ensuring that the industry proves to be the best that it can be.
Equally guilty is the PPP/Civic which weaponized sugar (and also rice) in pursuit of its political agenda by giving unflinching support to GAWU with its slash and burn approach to industrial relations. What should have been an environment reflecting good economic and social relations with common goals became a battle zone that grew progressively worse over time.
Strikes, the burning of canes and the willful destruction of plant and equipment became the core focus of GAWU rather than them seeking to improve production and productivity. And, of course, these are the teachings as promulgated to those who would have attended the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow to be used as part of their political tool kit.
Those of us old enough will recall the “heady” days when sugar was “king”, with prices reaching their peak in late 1974. But more than a decade before that, sugar workers were reaping a bountiful harvest, enjoying benefits such as house lots for$100; mortgage loans from the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Fund repayable at $2 per week and $1 per week upon retirement; free medical facilities and community /entertainment centres with cricket and football fields that were on par with the GCC and GFC grounds at Bourda and which are currently good enough to host regional cricket matches.
Not to mention were the various bonuses that were paid in the in-crop and out of crop seasons that enabled a life style that lower-ranked public servants and bauxite workers did not enjoy and which took their children out of the cane fields and placed them in class-rooms in primary and secondary schools across Guyana and with many going further afield.
Logies with their thatched roofs and mud floors were removed from the landscape and replaced by brightly painted housing schemes.
Paradoxically, those in the industry such as pan boilers, carpenters, mechanics and masons, many with forty or more years of service, and who lived in adjacent villages, did not enjoy the land and housing benefits that were enjoyed by their field colleagues who lived in the sugar belt. This dichotomy partially explains up to today the contrast in housing conditions between villages along coastal Guyana.
Despite enjoying such envious benefits, the industry was plagued with a level of indiscipline that has not been seen elsewhere in Guyana or perhaps elsewhere in the region. Week after week there continued to be wild cat strikes with estates seemingly taking turns in determining which one was going to strike in a particular week.
But above all, the strikes were carried out with a venom against the PNC-led administration during its twenty-eight years in office. There appeared to be a single-mindedness in wanting to destroy the industry by committing such acts as those described earlier.
Little did they realize that in seeking to remove the PNC from office by their destructive acts, they were killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Somehow, nobody seemed to realize or cared that the burning of canes meant lower yields; that work days lost through strikes meant lower production and productivity and these, when combined, meant lower earnings, leaving the industry short of badly needed resources to recapitalize and refurbish its operations.
And, when the Europeans gave early warnings of their intention to reduce the level of their price support to the industry over time, no serious attempt was made to determine how to reposition the industry to keep it alive.
The approach taken was that sugar was too big to fail and that the taxpayers of Guyana had deep pockets to fill the financing gap. Indeed, no other industry has enjoyed the level of subsidies like the sugar industry.
But alas, for an economy the size of Guyana’s, it would be reckless to continue to prop up an industry that is badly haemorrhaging, (subsidies of $3bn annually and more) without some attempt at restructuring. Added taxes to a tax base that is supported by those least able, or massive borrowings or “the printing of money” are no longer viable options for continuing to finance the industry, leaving Government with no option but to take corrective action.
Good leaders must be able to assess the implications of their actions and to anticipate changes in the environment in which they function; they must closely follow emerging trends and position their organizations to fluidly embrace those on-coming changes.
Any objective analysis would show that GAWU and the PPP/C have served their followers very poorly by not preparing them for this eventuality and worse yet, by giving them the assurance that it is business as usual. The PPP/C had twenty-three years in office and had ample notice from the Europeans of their intention to reduce the level of their price support. Yet they failed to act.
An important lesson from this whole episode is that recklessness in the approach to industrial relations has consequences at the level of the firm as well as the country. Count the costs to date of those weekly strikes, the tens of thousands or perhaps millions of acres of cane burnt and other damage carried out and try to determine how much more sustainable our sugar industry might have been. Trade Union members must also keep questioning whether actions taken by their unions are in their best socio-economic interests and if not, move with their feet.
GAWU, supported by the PPP/C, has been a toxic union and must be severely damaged in the eyes of potential investors who may wish to acquire any of the current or closed estates and who may wish to rehire some of the retrenched workers. With respect to those remaining in the industry, it is perhaps time for them to critically decide whether a continuing relationship with GAWU is in their best interest.
For its part, Government must quickly organize a consultation involving a group of local, regional and international experts on the way forward to determine how best to respond to the upcoming social and economic challenges that will no doubt arise from this retrenchment exercise. The time is of now.
Steve Fraser

At the core of this mess has been the poor and disruptive leadership of GAWU which positioned itself as a fierce adversary of the industry rather than as a partner committed to ensuring that the industry proves to be the best that it can be.

I wonder if GAWU(Komal Chand & company) regretted the strikes they called and supported when the industry was struggling? Komal should reflect and do some soul searching, accepting that he is partially responsible for the current plight of the sugar workers.

kp posted:
Mitwah posted:
Bibi Haniffa posted:

Once the sugar industry cease to exist there will be no need for GAWU.  

what becomes of the PPP?

What's your name, NOEL, you are a double agent.

Please remove your blinkers, if you wish to converse with me.

Riff posted:

guys, do me a solid. If you're going to reply to an article, you don't have to quote the entire article in your reply.

Thanks

The Black Panther

Ah was wonderin what happen to "doan use de dam long ass quotes unnecessarily"

Vish M posted:

Komal is a great guy.

He cares.

This is a reckless article with many false statements.

Ravi Dev and Dr Bobby Ramroop need to issue a press release to clarify this FAKE NEWS

Oh Please! It's fake news because Vish thinks that Komal is a great guy. It's being published by Ravi Dev and Dr. Ramroop's paper, two PPP stalwarts, so they obviously don't think that it's fake. Komal might be a great guy. It doesn't change the fact that some sugar workers are disillusioned with him and the union he heads.

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