first_img…during Rosehall Martyrs anniversaryMembers of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on Tuesday picketed Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton as he arrived to officiate in a ceremony to commemorate the 105th anniversary of the 15 Rose Hall martyrs.The PPP had vowed to protest every Government Minister that goes to Region Six after President David Granger appointed retired High Court Judge, Justice James Patterson, 84, as the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission – an appointment which the Opposition did not support and called on the President toSome of the protesters on Tuesdaysquash.On Tuesday, Minister Norton went to commemorate the 105th anniversary of the Rose Hall Martyrs, but he was greeted by protecters.The Party’s regional representative, Zamal Hussain, said the Party is not against the ceremony, which honoured workers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the betterment of the industry.“What led to this is that we are concerned about the rights of sugar workers because this activity here is based on martyrs; those who died to ensure that the right of sugar workers are upheld. So we are here to ensure that the rights of these sugar workers who are laid off are treated with respect,” Hussain said.About 30 sacked sugar workers and their families held placards as the Minister made his way into the monument site at Rose Hall, East Canje.According to Hussain, one of the burning issues is the need for jobs for those in the sugar belt. He noted that hundreds who previously worked with the sugar estate and now jobless.He said Government needs to provide a subsidy for the sacked workers. “The severed sugar workers must be given subsidised water and electricity due to theProtesters with their placardstremendous hardships they and their families have been facing. At this point in time, it is difficult for them to provide even the basic need of food for themselves and their families.”He also noted that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) recently passed a motion for the Government to provide transportation for the children of the sacked workers to attend school while adding that the Party is also calling on Government to create avenues where the formers could be re-employed.The protesters feel Minister Norton could have made his visit more meaningful had he paid more attention to those who are currently being affected.The new arrangement which sees pensioners receiving their pension through the bank was also highlighted. The party official noted that it is an additional cost for them to travel to the banks; all of which are situated in New Amsterdam. “If they are paid at the estate office they could ride a bicycle or walk and go for it and save the car fare.”Meanwhile, the monument where the wreath-laying took place was erected in 2014 and was conceptualised and designed by the National Trust.In an effort to secure a better life on the sugar plantation, labourers on the Rose Hall Estate protested the retraction of a four-day holiday awarded to them for a good grinding season. They, therefore, refused an order from the Plantation Manager, Mr Smith, to plant cane on those days. This led to a formal complaint to the immigration officer. In exchange for the charges levied against them to be dropped, Mr Smith demanded that they pay the legal cost. The labourers offered to pay in instalments, but management refused and the case went to the Magistrate’s Court on February 7, 1913.Hundreds of immigrant labourers filled the Reliance Magistrate’s Court where the men were found guilty of instigating resistance to work. The workers protested the verdict and management threatened to transfer the protesting families to distant plantations. The threat caused the workers to raise the level of their protest. Warrants were issued for the leaders and on March 13, 1913, the Police attempted to execute the warrants. The workers resisted, and the Police opened fire injuring 56 persons and killing 15.last_img read more