The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) says it has taken note of various media reports highlighting that an Indian and Trinidadian firm have expressed interest in taking over the Skeldon Estate.
“We find the growing interest to be intriguing, especially, since the factory was described by officials of the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) not too long ago as a ‘ticking time bomb’ requiring an astronomical sum to be put right. We also found it noteworthy too that the investor advised that in a short period it would make the estate profitable. It begs the obvious question why couldn’t GuySuCo’s management have similar success” GAWU reasoned.
GAWU says it is their view that GuySuCo’s managerial weaknesses are responsible for this current situation where even though Skeldon is being touted as unprofitable, private companies which are driven by profit are seeking to invest.
Noting that one investor was seeking to have control of the co-generation plants and was desirous of setting up of a refinery to tap into the lucrative Caribbean market, GAWU outlined that such a direction was also recommended by the Sugar Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and was a part of GuySuCo’s original intentions for Skeldon and is strongly supported by our Union for adoption by the Cooperation.
“We believe such a move will see the industry benefitting from higher revenues which would be in the interest of the industry and the thousands linked to its operations. The situation calls for our active vigilance” says GAWU.
According to GAWU “the investor interest being paid demonstrates, in our view, the value of the Skeldon Estate as well as its possibilities. It has also further reinforced the GAWU’s strongly held view that Skeldon was the right step and that its success will redound to the entire sugar industry. We urge the Administration to consider carefully the ramifications of the decision in this regard and the consequences for our economy and most of all our people.”
Last month, the Guyana Times newspaper broke the story that Trinidadian company D Rampersad and Company Limited (DRCL) was likely to rake in major benefits from the Guyana Government, including favourable tax incentives for the development of an integrated sugarcane processing facility at the Skeldon Sugar Estate, after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked in December for the undertaking of a feasibility study.
However, Government has since denied any secrecy in a deal struck with a Trinidadian company, with Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman pointing out that it was merely a MoU to conduct a feasibility study.
Moreover a few days after, the coalition administration was faced with more backlashes after it was revealed that Prime Minister and First Vice President Moses Nagamootoo’s son-in-law is reportedly working to bring in investors for a possible takeover of the cash-strapped GuySuCo.
A previous correspondence from the Agriculture Ministry had stated that it was having dialogue on potential investments in GuySuCo with representatives of an India-based Company with extensive knowledge of the sugar industry, Srinath Ispat Limited.