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‘Apology what!’

Estwick blames possible crop collapse on BWU

Barbados is on the verge of losing its entire 2014 sugar crop, says Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick. And, he is blaming it on the Barbados Workers’ Union’s (BWU) holding the sector to ransom over “an apology”.

Estwick’s rebuke came this afternoon as workers of Portvale Sugar Factory continued their crippling strike action that began last Thursday.

The minister too expressed “dire” concern about the deteriorating quality of the cane juice every day the canes already harvested or burnt remained unprocessed, while addressing the closing session of a Barbados Agricultural Society-organized symposium on Moving Towards A Viable And Vibrant Agricultural Sector. His fear is that if it the strike continues much longer, all that may be left is acid juice, which would be of no value to Barbados.

“My background is in chemistry and physics, and maths; so I went and did the research myself. So I know what is the window of opportunity we have of viability of sugar cane under these type of temperatures and pressure arrangements, and so on. It is not good. It is not good,” Estwick said.

“The reality is, we are on the precipice of losing the entire sugar crop,” the minister declared to groans from farmers gathered for the symposium at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

“You cannot do this to Barbados now. I don’t care what the circumstances are. Yuh can’t do it. Can’t do it!”

The Portvale employees are off the job in solidarity with 57 workers laid off from the Andrew’s Sugar Factory earlier this month.

BWU general secretary Sir Roy Trotman is demanding an apology from the BAMC over the manner in which it laid off those workers. The union is also insisting on enhanced severance packages. However, Estwick argued an apology was no basis for holding the entire sector to ransom.

“My personal view is that it would be a travesty to have started a crop that has the potential to earn foreign exchange when we have a foreign exchange crisis going on, and someone is going to tell me, they want an apology. An apology can be a basis?”asked the Cabinet minister.

“When you start to going into this level, I going into a different zone of thinking; and my response might not be very cultural and defined.”
As for the union’s demands for enhanced severance packages, Estwick said he had read the Employees Rights Act, the Severance Payments Act, and all the other relevant laws, and “even if you have a difference in timing, you can’t translate it into that type of behaviour”.

“That is why I now understand what some old philosophers would say –– that an irresponsible union is a threat to national development . . . . A responsible union can help economic growth and development,” Estwick asserted. “And I understand more so now than ever.”

The Minister of Agriculture minister said he strongly hoped that a resolution could be reached soon. If there was none, he said, a contingency plan would have to go into effect. However, Estwick did not elaborate on that plan.

21 Responses to ‘Apology what!’

  1. Lincoln C. Harper April 17, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Somehow the story of Rip Van Winkle comes to mind. There must be a must be a way of resolving this rinky-dink situation!

  2. Tony Webster April 17, 2014 at 1:29 am

    The hon. Minister has , at this moment, and in the national interest, the support of many ordinary Bajans (read: taxpayers)…all agreeing that there is a strong philosophical and scientific foundation for his expressed sentiments ( read: using eyes, ears, and common -sense).
    Hon. Minister needs reminding that many of his now-cheering “supporters” are frequently affronted, when they witness irresponsible, arrogant, misguided, and capricious behavior on the part of some of their elected Representatives, placed in national positions of leadership and trust.

  3. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 3:54 am

    An too believe this was once the main money crop,shame absolute Shame I tell u…

  4. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Were is this so call pride an industry,wanna does make me sick u mean wanna want no to stop d men from working wanna couldnt o this after crop over shame on government an the people that cause this error to happen in such times lord save we… …

  5. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:00 am

    So much better ways to go about doin things y wanna allways go d hard way, an in up hurting this country more an to think d economy down all ready were is the vision for this country u mean too tell me people can’t see we heading down d wrong road,if this crop once build this country then y not see how it can be done once more Ooo u of little faith…..

  6. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:04 am

    It can be done not by might or power but by His will said the lord …

  7. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Sugar is $$$$$$$$$$$$$ how can U not see that,an too think tht the MP of food give his honest opinion an people laugh an make jokes at the best solution possible….

  8. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Give him 1 year to make this sugar plan work the .idea is on the table….. ..

  9. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Barbados was given its name from its Sugarcane y would u not bring back them old days of glory we can just the right plans…..

  10. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Its so easy believe me I swear on the years my family give too the sugarcane industry here in BIM I’m a child of our land its in my blood…..

  11. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:15 am

    Brathwaite’s blood line last of its breed….

  12. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:19 am

    My family work land till they die working them so I’ll die working them same land smarter then my past ancestors, land Doctor….

  13. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 4:23 am

    They work for cheap because they were hard working people but we smarter now in this generation so we want job work not cheap labour….

  14. Stone April 17, 2014 at 7:37 am

    It is highly irresponsible to call a strike when the canes are cut and just lying there…I support the minister in what he is saying. The union is being very irresponsible. In these tough economic times when the country depend on the little dollars it can make we have a union leader trying to hold the government hostage. Let the people work then try to settle the differences at the table.

  15. Oriel Haynes
    Oriel Haynes April 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

    well the B’s just took us for idiots and well the D’s made sure they stamp it in, but I agree with the Minister, Trotman always, always make things bad ya see if those people go home less union dues going into the union, so he too is not in the interest of the people but the money and as for the workers, they saw it happening, when the other administration shut down buckley’s factor, the people got send home too and buckley’s up there with equipment ruining, rusting out the whole works I cannot recall anyone complaining. We need our country to be creative in thinking and none, none of them not one from both sides have creativity but to know how to sell ya ****. you people need to spread the blame around and read more of the IMF articles, I have and it has open my eyes more.

  16. Jerry Moller April 17, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I am a Barbadian living in Britain for the last 30 years love the island, from what i am hearing and seeing Barbados is going down hill rapitaly. i wish the goverment would get up and and do something aboutv it SUGAR has to come back in full with more factorys like the old days which the goverement will get up and open thier eyes an see wht is happening to my beutiful island.

  17. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Sad day in BARBADOS history an bajans sitting back when we all know sugar is what put this island on the world map,y would any bajan in they right mind can’t see something wrong about were Barbados stands today in world History,I have seen Men who’s leadership an its members create many jobs an opportunities for this country over an over this the worst government moves I have seen in years an that man running the country no were too be seen in times like this,he should be up front in matters like these but some them hide behind that face of politics….. …

  18. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    An think people not go see how ugly the real face is……

  19. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    All a we bajans n stupid yaa no because wanna go big school that don’t mean nothing what wanna got too show for it a big house new car an lil $$ pon bank,look d economy down were all these bright people that went big school wanna fall asleep in real life wanna only smart at reading books in class but can’t get the practical done in reality,cause no body but this one Doctor a real Doctor give his opinion an Barbados laugh at it an still we in d same problem so this man better off because he have a idea wanna in got any so this man better off with a idea then too have nothing at all……

  20. T J April 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I agree with the Minister. As a former worker of Andrews factory said on the Call in program, EVERYONE knew that the factory was closing down from last year, and all they use to do was go up there and play cards and dominoes on the tax-payers purse. Stand your ground Minister and bring in some Guyanese if them aint work to work. People out there would glad for the work. Stupse.

  21. Olutoye Walrond April 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    All I would say is that it’s a good thing we invested so much money into education, because if some of what I read here is the best we can do by way of expressing ourselves, then heaven help us if we hadn’t gone to school.


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