07/24/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/24/2020 13:45
In response to the news item carried on TVJ's evening news of Tuesday, July 21, 2020 and subsequent questions in relation to payments made to former workers of the Golden Grove Sugar Factory, I wish to clarify that the Government of Jamaica provided $200 million towards an Alternative Livelihood Development Programme for the Displaced Sugar Workers for the Golden Grove Factory Area.
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 Golden Grove Sugar Factory.
The intervention intends to cover five major components, including a production programme, skills training, cluster development, technical assistance and a cash grant.
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 persons and included:
1. Active Sugar Cane Farmers who directly supplied the Golden Grove Sugar Factory
2. Golden Grove Sugar Factory Workers and
3. Cane Cutters contracted to the factory.
The payouts have been made to most persons, with the exception of 12 individuals who are still to collect cheques. These 12 persons include cane cutters and cane farmers.
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 person previously considered.
This payment, which would represent approximately $23 million, is now under consideration.
The other components of the programme are ongoing. Approximately 570 acres of lands have been identified for the programme; of which 150 acres are currently under production by some 120 farmers. Land preparation and cluster development initiatives are under way for the remaining portions. The programme also provides technical and other support to farmers.