By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Alliance For Change (AFC) has come out in strong support of its opposition complement – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – in its call for a shift from decades of sugar production into a direction of ethanol production and aquaculture.
Following the APNU’s announcement on Tuesday, March 11 the President, Agriculture Minister and other senior government officials became enraged and strongly condemned and rejected the call which Dr. Leslie Ramsammy described as a “wicked plan” by the APNU to close down the sugar industry.
However, the APNU seems to have the AFC on its side. According to AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, since 2011 the Party in its Action Plan, and even prior to that, had pointed out that it was necessary for the industry to make the shift to ethanol production, adding that the prices on the world market is not likely to get any better.
“We have called ever since for the Government to make that investment in ethanol production the order of the day, and we have Brazil and other firms from India that can help in that regard and also help Guyana in the long run to save billions in foreign currency and fuel” Ramjattan told iNews (www.inewsguyana.com).
According to Ramjattan, it was the ruling People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) who had promised to embark on a venture with Brazilians for ethanol production.
“We cannot allow GuySuCo to keep eating up over $200B when its factories (Skeldon) aren’t working satisfactory,” the AFC leader said.
The AFC Leader blamed the administration for the situation and accused them of bypassing a Brazilian company for the construction of the Skeldon factory.
“They contracted CNTIC because it was a huge kick back and now it is collapsing, it is a terrible mistake but it happened because they didn’t want to listen,” Ramjattan added.
The AFC Leader further contended that the current situation the sugar sector finds itself in could have been avoided; adding that the Government knew ten years prior that the European Union would have took away the special preferential prices for sugar.
He said the Government is fighting to keep the industry alive because it feels that it needs to provide employment for its supporters who are largely cane cutters.
“They want to keep them in that morass forever so as to garner votes so they are trying to paint the Opposition as if they have no care for people but if the government cared they would have transformed the sector ever since, they are too hard ears,” Ramjattan said.
He maintained that the government is the root cause for the destruction of sugar as he hinted his Party’s nonsupport for funding to the sugar industry in the upcoming 2014 National Budget.
The sugar sector currently employs approximately 20,000 persons.