Sugar jobs coming, says DaSilva
A settlement is expected tomorrow in a dispute between residents of an Andrews, St Joseph community and the contractors hired to demolish the former Andrews Sugar Factory to make way for a new multi-purpose plant.
Innotech has fenced a portion of land being used by the community for recreation, sparking a public outcry.
Chairman Anthony DaSilva of Inter Sugar Partnership (ISP), the regional company which will manage the cane industry restructuring project, said it was necessary for safety and security reasons.
However he told Barbados TODAY that matter should be resolved by tomorrow.
DaSilva also disclosed that Government was in discussions with the owner of an adjoining property with a view to acquiring part of that property to facilitate construction of the new $540 million factory.
“There is a requirement for some additional land to the west of Andrews. My understanding is that this is pretty much advanced, but I don’t have the specifics as to what stage it is at,” the ISP head said.
The first phase of the project involves the demolition and dismantling of the former Andrews Sugar Factory, and DaSilva said it would create dozens of jobs, with priority given to former employees of the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC).
During a tour of the old factory this afternoon, the ISP boss told Barbados TODAY that up to 20 people had already been hired and more openings were possible.
“From my discussions with the project manager, they believe that they can take up to eight or 12 crews, so potentially there is employment opportunities. There will be other things that [will] come along . . . Once the factory is down, the whole factory that is, then we still have to do the levelling, the masonry structures and bringing the site up a level [in preparation for the start of construction].
“This is not the kind of work . . . or something that we want to get people that are inexperienced in this kind of work. So our preference is to find the guys that worked for BAMC or any other factory, to make contact with us. We had indicated to the demolition contractor when we awarded the contract that they should do as much as they can to get into contact with the BAMC workers that were unemployed.”
He projected that about 800 additional workers would be required at the peak of construction on the multi-purpose factory while another 300 permanent jobs would be available.
The ongoing demolition began about a month ago and should take another five months to complete, DaSilva said.
As part of the dismantling process, spare parts and other pieces of equipment were being transferred to Portvale Sugar Factory to boost its operations.
DaSilva said construction on the multi-purpose plant, which is expected to produce special sugars as well as generate electricity from biomass for sale to the Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P), was expected to last about 24 months.