Govt needs to reverse plans to privatise sugar estates

first_imgTo save industry…GAWU President in yet another appealGovernment has postponed closure of the Rose Hall Sugar Estate from end of 2017 to sometime in 2018, and the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) is urging the administration to make this position permanent, so as to allow workers to keep their jobs.GAWU President, Komal ChandGAWU President, Komal Chand, gave reasons for this proposal, stating that even during discussions with the Special Purposes Unit (SPU) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), consensus was arrived at that the best position was to keep the estates open.“We feel that is not enough. We don’t want them to push back; we want them to make the decision permanent. It should be reversed instead,” Chand told the Guyana Times on Sunday.The GAWU leader said officials from the SPU are interested in getting the estates functional. “They are talking about getting the work continuing, and they might pause for a few months, and that may be for the entire first crop in the next year,” he added.Chand said that if everything goes well, “They feel that both estates have the potential to do well and to become sustainable.” He noted that during a meeting with the SPU officials on November 14, they also expressed concern with the removal of the assets of those estates, agreeing with GAWU.“In fact, we have commented on this matter and we made this aware to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo)… It’s not private assets, but state assets,” Chand further stated.The GAWU official told this newspaper that if the sugar estates had not been nationalised in 1976, most of them would have already been closed by now. He said it is therefore important that Government reverse its plans to privatise those estates and factories, in order to save the industry.However, he noted, “Estates would not be able to continue on sugar revenues, but they can use bagasse to produce electricity and some other stuff, which GAWU had submitted in its proposal.”He continued, “Keep them open and make these estates more productive, to bring down cost. We are hoping that we halt the decision to close and sell Skeldon and turn this industry around.”State Minister Joseph Harmon recently announced plans to push back the closure of the Rose Hall Estate to 2018. The decision was taken to push back the closure until works being done by the SPU are completed.Back in May, Government had announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.Ever since that announcement, workers attached to the various estates, backed by their unions –GAWU and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) — have taken to the streets in several protest demonstrations, to signal to the Government the negative impact the closure will have on workers and the economy as a whole.In fact, the Rose Hall Estate workers had only last week said it was not too late to reconsider closing the facility at the end of the crop. One of the workers’ representatives, Glen McCloud, had said the workers were hopeful that there would have been a re-look at the intention, having recognised the obvious hardship that would result from the estate’s closure.Last month, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2,500 workers by the end of this year; but GAWU said the downsizing and subsequent closure of sugar estates would lead to the loss of more than 15,000 jobs and the potential threat of poverty for between 50,000 and 100,000 people.Workers believe Government has no plans in regard to making provisions for those workers who would be displaced by the closure of estates.In regard to the Skeldon and Enmore estates, State Minister Harmon has explained that the SPU would have to conduct evaluations, surveys and inventory assessments before any steps are taken to actually sell them.It was recently reported that the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has submitted a proposal for the acquisition of the East Coast Demerara estate. A statement from Head of the SPU, Colvin Heath-London, last month detailed that an international accounting firm will be recruited to evaluate GuySuCo’s assets for privatisation and divestment.Selected tenders were invited from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and KPMG to provide the services to the SPU as international financial services provider. The selected firm would be conducting the valuation of all assets under the control of GuySuCo, in addition to other advisory and financial services.After the winning firm is identified, which should be anytime, work will commence in regard to the valuation of the assets. The preparation of a prospectus is expected to be completed by the end of January 2018.last_img read more

WWE: How to get nuclear heat? Ask Kevin Owens and Elias

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementHow to get nuclear heat? Ask Kevin Owens and EliasThis week’s episode of Monday Night RAW will be distinctively remembered for the segment that involved Kevin Owens and Elias during the final hour of the show.The duo will team up to take on the pairing of Bobby Lashley and John Cena in tag team competition this Saturday at WWE Super Show Down in Melbourne, Australia. During the middle of their promo, Kevin Owens raised a question and said that Cena teaming up with Lashley did not make sense.Elias agreed with the Prizefighter’s remarks and added that its the same like having a basketball team in Seattle. In case you didn’t know, Seattle previously had an NBA franchise, ‘Seattle Supersonics’ before they relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.Elias’ statement directly hit the nerve of the WWE Universe and the fans started heckling the duo. The boos became extremely turbulent to the point where KO was forced to shout at the top of his lungs and moreover, his partner was also compelled to turn up his collar mic.In his one year stint on RAW, Elias has been known for constantly dissing the respective sports teams of the city in which the show is being hosted. But never before has his comments hit the WWE fans so hard that they booed him for the rest of the night.But, at the same, the Supersonics was beloved by the city of Seattle and they are still bitter and resentful about the fact that their team was snatched away from the city.last_img read more

Blackhawks Cook Ducks’ Goose, 5-3

first_imgANAHEIM, Calif. — Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks dealt with Game 7 pressure in the same way they’ve handled just about everything during their incredible seven-year playoff run.Like champions.And after ending a remarkable Western Conference finals with a blowout victory, the Blackhawks get another chance to raise the Stanley Cup.Toews scored two goals in the opening minutes, Corey Crawford made 35 saves and Chicago roared into the Stanley Cup Finals with a 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on the night of May 30.Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook also scored for the Blackhawks, who will play for their third NHL championship in six seasons when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning beginning June 3 in Florida.After six games of tense hockey in an extraordinary series, Game 7 was an incongruous rout. Toews was responsible for it, burnishing his reputation for big-game brilliance with a rebound goal just 2:23 in and another power-play score before 12 minutes elapsed.“There was no easy games,” Toews said. “There was nothing given to us. There was no moments in this series were there any lulls, where we felt Anaheim maybe didn’t play their best hockey and we got away with it. We felt like we had to earn everything against that team. That was an incredible test for both teams.”Anaheim lost a Game 7 at home for the third straight season. The Ducks blew a 3-2 series lead each time, compounding the heartbreak for a talented team that hasn’t developed the postseason poise possessed by Chicago and other champions.“We took another step this year, going a round farther, but ultimately that Game 7 we’ve got to be able to finish,” Ducks Captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “They played better than us tonight. I’m not telling you they are a better team than us. We didn’t do enough to win.”The Blackhawks led 4-0 before Ryan Kesler scored late in the second period for the Ducks. Corey Perry scored for Anaheim with 8:24 to play, but Seabrook scored on a power play shortly afterward.Patrick Kane had three assists for Chicago, which won three of the series’ final four games to seize another Western Conference title — although the Blackhawks refused to touch the Campbell Bowl during an awkward post-game ceremony punctuated by fans throwing orange towels on the ice.The Blackhawks have defied conventional NHL parity to reach three Stanley Cup Finals and five conference finals in a seven-year stretch under coach Joel Quenneville. That’s because their stars are unmatched: From Toews and Kane to Seabrook and Duncan Keith, nobody knows how to win like Chicago.The Blackhawks bounced back this season after their Game 7 loss to the Kings in last spring’s conference finals. Chicago outlasted Nashville and swept Minnesota this spring before outlasting Anaheim in the franchises’ first playoff meeting.“We’ve had some good accomplishments in here and some things to be proud of,” Kane said. “But at the same time, who knows if these opportunities are going to come around this often? We thought we were right there last year, but we didn’t get the job done, so it’s great to come back a year later and have that same opportunity and capitalize on it.”Keith had two assists while completing the series with a jaw-dropping 230 minutes, 48 seconds of ice time for a team largely relying on four defensemen.Brad Richards, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 with Tampa Bay, had two assists for Chicago while improving to 8-0 in Game 7s in his NHL career.Three days after Chicago staved off elimination with a 5-2 win at home, Toews somehow managed to top his last appearance at Honda Center. He tied Game 5 on May 25 with two electrifying goals in the final minutes before Anaheim won in overtime.“He’s an amazing hockey player,” Quenneville said of Toews. “He just seems to excel in big moments, big stages, and shows he’s as good a leader as in any sport.”Captain Serious showed how much he thought of Game 7 pressure when he scored just 2:23 in. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s long shot rebounded straight to Toews, who scored his fourth goal of the series when the Ducks inexplicably failed to mark him.Anaheim immediately showed tension in its game, perhaps remembering its three-goal first period deficit in a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Kings last spring.After Jakob Silfverberg took a hooking penalty midway through the period, Toews capitalized with a high shot through traffic, getting it through Saad’s screen in front.Frederik Andersen made 21 saves for the Ducks, giving up three goals on Chicago’s first seven shots.The collapse came abruptly for Anaheim, which went a record-tying 14 games into the postseason without a regulation defeat until losing the last two games by a combined 10-5.Matt Beleskey scored a power-play goal in the final minute for the Ducks, who finished one game shy of their first Stanley Cup Finals since 2007.“Last year was a tough loss, (and) this year was even worse,” Ducks forward Patrick Maroon said. “We’re one game away. We had them on the ropes. We’re going up 3-2 in their barn. You saw what happened there. Then we’re looking better because we have home-ice advantage and can play in front of our fans, and … I don’t know. I have no words.”(GREG BEACHAM, AP Hockey Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more