… GAWU calls for counsellingTwo sugar workers who were issued dismissal letters by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) have committed suicide.Reports are Ramnarase Bissesar of Inner Stanleytown, West Bank Demerara, ingested a poisonous substance on December 28, 2017, having received his dismissal letter. The second person, Joseph Mohabir, a Field Superintendent, was reportedly found hanging in his bedroom on Old Year’s Day. He too was among the workers who were dismissed by GuySuCo.Bissesar reportedly returned home around 14:00h after he visited some friends and told his wife that he was not sure how he was going to live since he did not receive his severance payment.Shortly afterwards, he went to the upper flat of the house where he ingested the poisonous substance. His wife found him in a foetal position in the floor and rushed him to the West Demerara Hospital where he was pronounced dead.Mohabir, 38, of Lot 51 Reliance Abundant, East Canje, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), was found hanging by the neck from the ceiling in his bedroom on Old Year’s Day, two days after his service was terminated.The discovery was made by the dead man’s 17-year-old son, Joshua, around 19:00h. The dead man’s wife, Bebi Shameeza Mohabir, explained that she had just gone to the lower flat and when she went back upstairs, he was dead.She explained that it was her son who climbed the wall and made the discovery even as they were preparing to usher in the new year.According to the grieving wife, over the past 18 years of marriage, she has never noticed her husband acting as he did over the past few days. Two weeks ago, he received the termination letter from the estate.Bebi said her now deceased husband’s traumatic behaviour after he was served with a termination letter from the Rose Hall Estate, where he worked for over 19 years.“Since he collect the letter he was totally depressed, he was not the same person. Every day he keep worrying… it is not only he is out of a job, is everybody, but he take it hard because look what he do to himself.”On Tuesday, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) called on Government to ensure that GuySuCo facilitates counselling for the dismissed individuals.“The Government, which has taken these haphazard decisions and the many broken promises that they have made, must be held accountable for this situation which is worsened by denying people their severance pay at Wales and to not setting a date for severance pay for workers from the other estates,” GAWU President Komal Chand told Guyana Times on Tuesday.The Union said it was saddened that two former sugar workers, one at Wales and the other at Rose Hall, reportedly ended their lives.Having expressed condolences to both families, GAWU while highlighting that the incidents are “extreme manifestations”, noted that the laying-off of thousands of sugar workers is having a serious psychological impact and “is pushing some into a depressive, despondent and desperate state”.Deeming Government’s plans for the sugar industry as “ill-conceived and spiteful”, GAWU feels these actions will “haunt” Guyana for generations to come.“At this time, it is incumbent for the Government to quickly arrest what, clearly, is a frightening situation. Without any further delay the Administration needs to advise on the date of payment of the workers’ severance pay and the provision of alternative employment available noting that workers expenses have not ceased though their jobs were taken away and bearing in mind too that it is not too late in correcting the closure decision taken. Immediately, in the sugar belt the conduct of suicidal counselling should begin,” the Union body expressed.GAWU further advised that workers and other family members who may harbour suicidal thoughts should to steer their mind in other directions.Meanwhile, Opposition Leader and People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo expressed similar sentiments, stressing that no one should take their own life.“I can understand the state of depression in the sugar belt because I have spoken to families and felt the extent of the hurt and uncertainty and worry about them being able to provide for their families,” he noted.The Opposition Leader further explained that many sugar workers cannot see a future beyond sugar and he deemed Government’s decision to downsize the industry as “political” as opposed to being a technical or economic decision.