…with the SPU
Two months ago, the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) – ostensibly formed to deal with the four GuySuCo estates that were unilaterally shut down by the PNC-led Government – went to the local banks market and floated a $30 BILLION BOND!!! Now this amounts to US$150 million IN GREENBACKS – so we’re not talking about chickenfeed. Apart from crowding out that much money from private borrowers and therefore pushing up interest rates, there was the question of the financing terms.
The principal on the bond will have to be repaid in five years, with, of course, the annual interest having to be coughed up…well…annually!! Now with the loan being for just five years – this makes it a very short-term loan – quite unusual for a bond, and for good reason. As Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo pointed out, it’ll take time to privatise the four estates since the Bond was supposed to refurbish the physical plant and the fields – so where will they get the money in five years??
In a huff, the SPU announced its “plans” for the money – which simply confirmed the Opposition Leader’s surmise!! The GY$30 billion would be used to help finance “an ambitious strategic plan to turnaround the fortunes of the Guyana sugar industry. The strategy involved the development of two co-generation facilities, upgrades to the existing sugar factories to produce white sugar, the restructuring of debt, and ongoing training and education for the workers and management of GuySuCo.”
Now by any measure, this “turnaround” strategy will certainly take more than five years to execute – unless, of course, the SPU just wants to throw money down the sugar canals!! It’s clear, however, the mandarins in charge of the SPU don’t understand that agriculture products – like sugar cane – take time to grow! Ditto for factories to be rebuilt to create that bagasse for the “co-generation” plants! But why worry?? The SPU’s bond was backstopped by GuySuCo’s assets and the Government of Guyana!! So you, dear reader, your taxes may be used to repay the loan!!
But your Eyewitness was pleased when the Chronic ran an article on the very first spending from the $30 billion. This demonstrated that maybe your Eyewitness was worrying too much. The SPU proudly announced it had “refurbished the LBI Estate lounge with a bar, tennis court, a pool and other attractions”!! The swimming pool shown in the accompanying pic was immaculately terraced to match anything Sandals could offer!!
The article explained that “the facility will be open to… the SPU, as well as for staff of various ministries”!!
With the SPU and “Ministries” staff relaxed, they’ll creatively figure out how to repay the $30 billion plus interest!!
You, dear reader, would know that your Eyewitness goes though the dailies with the proverbial “fine tooth comb”! And just like the subject of the proverb used to reveal dirty little secrets, his close reading turned up a dirty little secret of GECOM. HE SAW AN AD FOR five NEW LANDCRUISERS FOR THE OUTFIT!! You’d think with that unexplained purchase of $100 million of obsolete radio equipment – which was never used for the last elections – hanging over their heads, the GECOM Secretariat would be bit more circumspect!
Now your Eyewitness understands that members of GECOM may have to move around during the LGE…but why in the world do they need the MOST EXPENSIVE SUV’s around??!! The base price for these monsters start at $18 million…and if they pick the bells and whistles like PM Nagamootoo ordered, then we’re talking about at least $25 million a pop!! And with five “pops”, that’s a cool $125 million!!
And imagine the oil money hasn’t even started to come in yet!! (The under-the-table” loot doesn’t count!!)
…but not for fired sugar workers
Imagine the LBI Lounge was refurbished, yet fired sugar workers had to picket Nagamootoo to demand the balance of their severance pay!
O Judgment! Thou has fled to brutish beasts and this Government has lost its reason!