[www.inewsguyana.com] – Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy has rejected the assertion that the $6 Billion budgetary allocation announced in the 2014 budget is a ‘bailout or handout’ by government for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
The Minister rejected this claim, even though the country’s sugar industry has been struggling over the years. In a press statement, Minister Ramsammt said, “GUYSUCO is too important to the economy of our country and to the lives of thousands of people for us to act recklessly and not ensure that GUYSUCO is able to overcome the difficulties that it has been facing for some time now.”
The Agriculture Minister explained that the welfare and livelihood of more than 18,000 employees are at stake. He said that in spite of the growth of the economy as a whole, the Sugar Corporation still is one of the largest components of Guyana’s economy, contributing about 4% of the overall economy.
“When it comes to the economies of Regions, 3,4,5 and 6, GUYSUCO looms even larger and contributes almost 10 to 20% of the economies of these regions.”
Meanwhile, the Minister also expressed his disappointment with the main Opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), which expressed its intention to cut the $6 billion allocation for GuySuCo.
“I note the statement from both Mr. David Granger and Carl Greenidge that they intend to vote against the budgeted sum for GUYSUCO. It is unfortunate that APNU has decided on this course of action and it demonstrates that they pre-planned to cut the budget in key areas.”
Dr. Ramsammy is of the view that GuySuCo has been targeted.
“I believe that this action is another in a series of actions and expressed intentions that are in keeping with the long history of being anti-sugar,” the Agriculture Minister said.
Recently, APNU called for a shift from decades of sugar production into a direction of ethanol production and aquaculture. This was supported by the Alliance For Change (AFC).