Retrenched sugar workers urged to draw inspiration from Enmore Martyrs

first_img– as PPP hosts wreath-laying ceremonyThe People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Thursday held a wreath-laying ceremony in commemoration of the 70th death anniversary of the Enmore Martyrs, where calls were made for the thousands of retrenched sugar workers to draw inspiration from these five men who made the ultimate sacrifice, which allowed generations after to enjoy better working conditions.PPP Executive Member Irfaan Ali laying a wreath at the Enmore Martyrs’ gravesite ahead of their 70th death anniversaryOn June 16, 1948 Lallabaggie and Dookie from Enmore; and Rambarran, Harry and Pooran were shot and killed by Police at the Enmore Estate, East Coast Demerara, while protesting for improved working conditions on the plantations.As those gathered at the Enmore Martyrs gravesite at the Le Repentir Cemetery in Georgetown reflected on the sacrifices of these men, they were reminded of the current state of the sugar industry, whereby some 7000 plus sugar workers have been placed on the breadline.Addressing the gathering, PPP Executive Member Irfaan Ali reminded that it was at this same gravesite that the party’s founding leader, Dr Cheddi Jagan, made a silent pledge to protect the rights of workers and push for a democratic society – a fight to which the party is still committed.Ali called on Government to fulfil the promises made to sugar workers by the Coalition parties on the 2015 campaign trail, and said Guyanese will fail those five men who made the ultimate sacrifice if citizens do make a similar pledge, as Dr Jagan did, to fight for their rights and stand up to injustices.Relatives of the five Enmore Martyrs remembering their loved ones at a wreath-laying ceremony on Thursday“It is under the People’s Progressive Party that democracy, freedom, workers’ rights, recognition of people were protected and guaranteed; this is not the case today… This is our opportunity to make our mark; young men and women, this is your opportunity to create your own imprint like these five martyrs…and we are not asking for any undemocratic imprint, we are asking for us to pledge and dedicate ourselves to safeguard and protection of freedom in our democracy,” Ali implored.Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said this year’s memorial for the five Enmore Martyrs is more significant than ever, given the current state of the local sugar industry.Hinds noted that while thousands of retrenched sugar workers are now facing great difficulties, they must not give up, but instead draw inspiration from those five martyrs to move forward.“Whilst it’s very difficult at times to see a way forward, let us not give up hope. Let us use the example of where we were in 1948 when these five comrades give up their lives, and let us see that we were able to struggle and work for better things,” the former Prime Minister posited.Assistant General Secretary of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), Aslim Singh, also called on Government to recognise the importance of the sugar industry in the country’s economy, while also urging ex-sugar workers not to give up on the fight for their rights.“As we reflect on the martyrs’ heroism, we cannot help but be saddened by what is taking place in the sugar industry… The sugar industry and its workforce have a pivotal place in this country… We urge the authorities not to disregard them. We urge them (the authorities) not to continue letting down the people. As we face new challenges today, new workers’ struggles are taking place; [and] it is fitting therefore, in such circumstances, to reflect on, and draw inspiration from, the 1948 Enmore workers’ struggle,” Singh asserted.Solidarity remarks were also made by representatives of the Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA), the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO), and the Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO).last_img

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