It has been 65 years since that June 16, 1948 event when five Enmore sugar workers, Lallabajee, Pooran, Harry, Surujbally and Rambarran died, paying the ultimate sacrifice for better wages and working conditions.
Honouring the martyrs during a service at the Enmore Monument site today, President Donald Ramotar urged that an example be taken from the sacrifice of the fallen heroes in resuscitating the industry to the prestigious position it held.
President Donald Ramotar lays a wreath at the base of the Enmore Martyrs’ Monument
Also present at the service were several Ministers of Government, Members of Parliament (MPs,) trade union leaders, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Region Four Chairman and relatives of the martyrs.
President Ramotar acknowledging that the industry is in ‘crisis mode’ said that it is important that all recognise that it still has a role to play in the development of the country, and in resuscitating the industry to play this role, he is ready and willing to work together with anyone.
A section of the gathering at the service to honour the five Enmore martyrs
“I am ready for all ideas. I am ready to accept all workable ideas that will turn this industry around,” he said.
“If the workers and the union feel that they know and they understand the industry and they can produce better than the management, I am ready to even consider giving them the land in co-ops and let them produce.
The GuySuco Training Centre Cultural Group performs at the commemoration of the 65th death anniversary of the five Enmore Martyrs
I am ready to work with any other suggestions that can come forward so that this mighty industry that has been responsible for all our presence here, that it should not go down,” he said.
The President said that remembrance events like Enmore Martyrs’ Day, have been known to bring out feelings of solidarity and togetherness in people, and it is the hope that it would bring all together towards this goal.
President Donald Ramotar addresses the commemoration service of the 65th death anniversary of the Enmore Martyrs
“It is time like these that brings out the best in people, and I am looking forward that everyone would put their best foot forward and stop making excuses, stop complaining, stop the blame game and let us together try to turn this industry around and allow it to continue the role that it has as a major factor for development in our country,” he said.
“We have to restore the fields, the lands which have given us canes for centuries must be nourished to be able to continue,” he urged.
He said that the main objective is to see what can be done quickly to put this ‘crisis’ period for the industry behind.
President Donald Ramotar, Minister of Labour Dr. Nanda Gopaul, President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) Carvil Duncan and FITUG’s General Secretary Kenneth Joseph and President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) Komal Chand hold hands during the singing of ‘The Internationale’ at the the 65th death anniversary service for the Enmore Martyrs
The Head of State urged that everyone involved from top to bottom be ready to take the example of the Enmore martyrs and to make the sacrifice so that the sugar industry can remain powerful.
“We want to build a strong sugar industry so that our country can benefit,” he said.
President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) Carvil Duncan and President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) Komal Chand also addressed the gathering.
They spoke of the legacy of the martyrs, its impact on the sugar industry, the struggle for independence and in accelerating the formation of the PPPC party and in moulding the characters of its earlier leaders especially its earliest leader and former President Cheddi Jagan.
Wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes at the base of the Enmore Monument by President Ramotar and other representatives of different trade union groups and governmental bodies.
On June 16, 1948 sugar workers at Enmore staged a protest for ‘better wages and improved living conditions’. Of the 19 workers who formed the strike party, five were killed when police opened fire on them.
In observance of their life and death and to honour their fight and struggle for democracy, a monument was erected at Enmore and every year homage is paid to the martyrs.