Min Scott and others celebrate the sacrifice of Enmore Five

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DPI, GUYANA, Saturday, June 16, 2018

The ultimate sacrifice of the Enmore Five and their pursuit of a better life was commemorated on Saturday afternoon by ministers of government, family members and union representatives.

Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott, said the sacrifice 70 years ago by the Enmore Five served as a catalyst and set the stage for better working conditions today.

“Between 1948 and 2018, the living and working conditions in every industry have improved significantly simply because the foundations laid by the sugar workers,” Minister Scott noted in feature remarks following the laying of wreaths at the Emore Martyrs Monument.

The Enmore Five: Lallabagee Kisson, Pooran, Rambarran, Surujbally and Harry lost their lives on June 16, 1948. The five were among hundreds of sugar workers protesting in demand of higher wages and improved living conditions at sugar estates.

Minister Scott pointed out the government is committed to providing workers with decent working conditions. He noted that Guyana has ratified the most International Labour Organisation (ILO) labour related conventions in Guyana.

Additionally, the government has worked to increase prospects for sustained livelihoods through improved social protection and better economic opportunities. Minister Scott noted the climate of industrial relations and social dialogue has been improved.

Last year the government signed onto the second phase of the ILO Decent Work Country Programme. It was the first country in the Caribbean to officially do so.  “That programme focuses on three main priorities: addressing poverty and inequality through improved working conditions and respect for international labour standards,” Minister Scott noted.

These efforts have led to a reduction in protect action Minister Scott pointed out. “For the first time in our history, we have recorded just over 100 strikes only. In preceding years the number of strikes exceeded several hundred reaching as 500 in one year,” Minister Scott said.

Minister Scott said noted the sugar workers are owed a debt of gratitude for their efforts to improve working conditions across the country. Addressing the concerns and misconceptions within the sugar industry, Minister Scott noted the sugar industry is being resuscitated and reenergized as opposed to claims it is being closed down.

By: Tiffny Rhodius

Images: Jules Gibson