Despite concerns raised SPU continuing its work, $30B to be released- Harmon

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The Special Purpose Unit (SPU), which was set up to manage the divestment of the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (Guysuco) assets, is continuing its work amidst concerns of “destabilization and demoralization” raised by senior managers of the sugar entity.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

This is according to State Minister, Joseph Harmon on Thursday during his weekly Post Cabinet Briefing with media operatives.

Harmon said that efforts are afoot to see the revitalization of the downsized Sugar Corporation.

“The work of GuySuCo continues. The Special Purposes Unit continues to do the portion of what it is required to do. That is to look at the assets of the GuySuCo estates that do not remain a part of GuySuCo and to seek to divest or diversify assets in the best interest of the Guyanese people,” he explained.

The State Minister’s comments come at the heels of GuySuCo’s Management’s letter to the Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder on Friday last, complaining that the SPU is demoralizing and destabilizing the corporation.

The letter, written by Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Paul Bhim, states that since the establishment of the SPU, senior managers have indicated breaches and unprofessionalism experienced, which in turn has resulted in “destabilization and demoralization within the Corporation…” accelerating.

To this end, Bhim had made a call for Holder to intervene.

He also highlighted thirteen areas that warrants immediate attention- which includes the need for clear policy positions on the roles and responsibilities of the SPU and GuySuCo as well as a clear business model and strategy for the two entities as a partnership.

Over the months, there has been significant tension and some level of divisiveness over who has the responsibility over the sugar industry.

While Holder recently reclaimed oversight of the industry, the SPU, which falls under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), has since secured a $30B syndicated bond from local and regional banks for the revitalization of GuySuCo, which has since been reduced to three functioning estates across the country.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Harmon told reporters that the agreement is expected to be signed any time now for the release of the funds.

“The Funding for GuySuCo is now an active matter. I believe that the bank that’s lending GuySuCo whatever the sum is- $30B- that we’re likely to have a signing today, this afternoon, of the agreement so as to facilitate the release of this money for GuySuCo to do its work,” Harmon asserted.

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