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JAMAICA | Duncan-Sutherland wants Audley Shaw to honour promise to Monymusk sugar workers!

People’s National Party (PNP) Caretaker for South East Clarendon, Patricia Duncan Sutherland with the protesting Monymusk sugar workers. People’s National Party (PNP) Caretaker for South East Clarendon, Patricia Duncan Sutherland with the protesting Monymusk sugar workers.
CLARENDON, Jamaica. February 27, 2018 - The People’s National Party (PNP) Caretaker for South East Clarendon, Patricia Duncan Sutherland,has called on Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw to formalize the assistance package for Monymusk factory workers and contractors, following confirmation in January that the factory would remain closed for the 2018-2019 crop season.

The PNP representative says the delays from the government has caused the sugar workers to remain restive. Whilst the arrangements for the transportation of cane has been finalized with the cane farmers in consultation with them, to date, the factory workers have not been formally engaged nor have they had any direct correspondence from the Minister or his representatives.

Subsequent to the demonstration staged by the workers, Minister Shaw met with the workers and said the Government would be paying the workers and contractors impacted by the closure, their full payroll beginning the first week of March. He also promised that the workers would have the opportunity to lease lands as an alternative form of earning. This along with promises of hefty spending by HEART and RADA in the community.

“The verbal promises from the Minister, are not enough for an industry as important as sugar which has been the backbone of the Parish. We need to have the proposed assistance package from the government documented and discussed in detail with the factory workers, to ensure equity and transparency in the implementation of the package.”

“The workers must be included in the consultations, just as the cane farmers were.  The Minister also promised that the workers would be invited to sit on the committee.  My information is that to date no one has contacted the BITU representative for the Monymusk workers.” She added. 

Mrs. Duncan Sutherland understands that on Monday there was a meeting of the cane farmers and the Minister about the redistribution of sugar lands and although promises were initially made to the factory workers that they too would have access to the land lease opportunity, again they were not included in the meeting. 

The 2018-2019 crop season is now underway and due to the lengthy delays by the Government in taking a decision about the closure of Monymusk, cane farmers and factory workers have been forced to go without income since November last year.  The situation has been somewhat resolved for the cane farmers but not for the factory workers.

“It is unacceptable that the government took so long to deliberate on whether the factory would be closed, and now continues to delay the assistance package to the workers whose livelihoods depend on sugar! This Andrew Holness led government continues to treat the workers of Monymusk with utter disdain. ” 

Mrs. Duncan Sutherland was careful to point out that The People’s National Party is not against the transition being contemplated to reduce sugar production in Clarendon and welcomed Minister Shaw’s promise to reopen the Monymusk Factory for the next crop.  The opposition is concerned about the government’s handling of the process and the lack of clarity around the way forward. She is calling on Minister Shaw to maintain his commitment to work with all stakeholders to achieve the best outcome for the sugar industry in Clarendon.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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