$200 million livelihood development programme for displaced sugar workers

Audley Shaw, minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries, says Government has provided $200 million towards an alternative livelihood development programme for the displaced sugar workers in the Golden Grove Factory area.

Responding to media reports regarding payments made to the former workers, Shaw said the programme aims to mitigate the hardships that the cane farmers and factory workers from the St Thomas region are facing from the closure of the sugar factory.

“The intervention intends to cover five major components, including a production programme, skills training, cluster development, technical assistance and a cash grant,” he explained.

The cash grant component of the programme amounted to approximately $78 million and was to be paid out to three categories of workers, totalling 527 people, and included active sugar cane farmers who directly supplied the Golden Grove Sugar Factory, Golden Grove Sugar Factory workers, and cane cutters contracted to the factory.

“The payouts have been made to most people, with the exception of 12 individuals who are still to collect cheques. These 12 include cane cutters and cane farmers,” Shaw said.

“An appeal has been made for payments to be made to other categories of persons employed to private cane farmers and contractors who supplied the factory. These persons were not involved in the direct operations of the factory, and therefore would not have fallen in the categories of persons previously considered.”

He said this payment, which would represent approximately $23 million, is now under consideration.

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