Unclear what sporting competitions are being encouraged by GuySuCo’s current management

Dear editor,

A few weeks ago, Berbice Cricket Management tried to find out more about its top-flight representatives, mainly at national and international level. Regarding the latter, Kanhai, Solomon, Butcher and Roy Fredericks, among others, were remembered, so many of whom emerged from the prolific days of Estate Community Centers (and Girls’ Clubs), where football, table tennis (and drama) thrived, together with athletics. But the identification of sport in and with the sugar industry fizzled out long ago. From this distance it is unclear which athletic competitions are being promoted by GuySuCo’s current management.

I remember as a young HR manager at the Blairmont Estate, I was up against a long line of table tennis enthusiasts at the community center including teenager Raikha Tiwari and older Roy Fredericks, both selected for the national team to represent British Guiana. While the late Roy Fredericks is remembered for his exploits for the West Indies against Australia, it was Port Mourant’s Joe Solomon who won the historic Test match with a throw at the stumps; then proceeded with Kanhai, his village mate, to achieve more historic victories for the West Indies along with Basil Butcher, another villager. Meanwhile, this author’s relationship has existed since the days of Blairmont Estate with Raikha, who is now Dr. Raikha Bisnauth is and has been based in the UK for six decades.

That being said, how many of the former Sugar staff remember the days they visited England Test teams who had in their diaries competitions at Skeldon, Albion, Rose Hall (where Willie Watson and Tom Graveney had an inaugural partnership of over two hundred runs) and Visited Blairmont? But how could you forget the Saturday night indoor sports interactions between estate executives (and their spouses) at their respective staff clubs, where we learned more about being partners and being people. It was BSE chairman Edgar Readwin, the national lawn tennis champion (except when Ian Mc Donald, company secretary at the time, was hosting) who insisted that headquarters organize a multi-sport team to visit each of the eight properties at the weekend and compete against them. with Skeldon specifically planned for the rare occasion when Monday was a bank holiday.

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Incidentally, the employees there were known for their annual tennis match with Suriname (Dutch Guiana). Head office secretaries attended the evening indoor games, of course with the chairman, who also acted as wicketkeeper in cricket and goalie in football during the day. The stands not only chose their strongest teams from all employee levels, but also provided the referees. In fact, there was an incident where the same umpire handed out the chairman in consecutive cricket matches at the same estate. Edgar Readwin slung his racquet over his shoulder, stared at the familiar presence of the factory worker, and asked, “You still work for us?” Of course he didn’t mean it.

It was just a reminder of the camaraderie everyone experienced in those “playful” days (and nights) before the age of community centers. There was this feeling of well-being among all employees. If you think about it, it was very likely a precursor to “worker participation” – an environment that did not provoke protest from the various unions of the day. Now we must all ask ourselves about the appearance of sportsmanship on our estates; whether community centers work and who runs them; play sugar workers in and for them? Perhaps the Minister for Culture, Youth and Sport should intervene. Estates still employ others as “contract workers”.


EB John

Head of Human Resources


Guyana Sugar Corporation

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