EYEWITNESS: Playing the fool…


…on GuySuCo

“Playing the fool” in Guyanese lingo doesn’t mean you’re funny – it means you’re being deliberately stupid. “Playing the ass” expresses the sentence even pithier. Right now – with the farce playing out on the GuySuCo Board – all your Eyewitness can say is this PNC-led Government’s REALLY playing the ass with sugar. And it certainly ain’t funny to the 10,000 sugar workers left after the firings of 5700, who’re living from day to day.

Trying to justify the unjustifiable, the PNC claimed the amputation of three factories was the only way to “save the industry”!! Tough love!! So what did they do?? They transferred the stock ownership of GuySuCo to NICIL so that its SPU could borrow $30 billion. But we could tell all wasn’t kosher when it took a week to announce what they’ll do with the money – fix the rump GuySuCo or the “closed” estates.

From then onwards the story really becomes a farce. Heath-London, the head of the SPU, placed an ad in the dailies at the beginning of March announcing a new GuySuCo Board with him at the head of a bevy of mostly neophytes to sugar. Seems letters of appointment were sent out to these worthies – but as to who sent out the letters we still don’t know. Had to be on some kind of official letterhead at the least, no?? We also don’t know if letters on non-renewal of contracts were sent to the “old” Board – including its Chairman, Clive Thomas.

Now we know that Thomas, as Chair, was just treading water at best – but your Eyewitness hoped, at least for the sake of sugar’s survival, the Government’s left hand was being coordinated with the right hand. But it was not to be. Up came the inimitable Minister of Finance Winston Jordan – who certainly doesn’t LOOK like a comedian – but is certainly doing his best to sound like one with his “now you see it…now you don’t” routine about the Board. Was it real butter or was it margarine?? Who was the Chair…Heath-London or Thomas?? Or both?

Does the “owner” of GuySuCo’s shares get to pick its Board – Heath-London…or does the Government make a mockery of GuySuCo’s “autonomous” status and keep Thomas?? Now whatever happens now – after the totally clueless Minister of Agri Holder says HE’S setting up his own Board – we know that Heath-London and Jordan have ABSOLUTELY NO FAITH IN THOMAS!! And more to the point, they don’t want him anywhere near that $30 billion the SPU borrowed.

And like the grass that gets trampled when the elephants (Jordan and Holder!) fight, the remaining sugar workers can only see their jobs disappearing.
It’s a shad, shad story!!

…with correspondent banking

The old folks say smart flies always end up on the (nasty) nether regions of the bovine species!! And this is just where this PNC-led Government’s at when it comes to international banks intermediating our funds. When in Opposition, the PNC and AFC played ducks and drakes with the AML/CFT Bill and had us placed on the international bankers’ blacklist. The AFC even said they’d sign on if the Procurement Commission were appointed. Meaning they had no substantive problems with the Bill – they just wanted to play to the gallery!!

And that’s all they were doing, weren’t they?? But the damage was already done to our international banking credentials. And we still haven’t recovered – as Minister of Finance Jordan conceded yesterday. After those banks “derisked” themselves by cutting off ties with our local banks – did he expect they would just reverse themselves just like that?? Is he living in la la land??

It’ll take at least the injection of real oil money –- from a renegotiated contract – to get a second look.

…on drivers’ licences

Quick now!! Which Guyanese is surprised at the news that half of the written drivers’ exams were FAKE?? This is only the start of the scams that some Police officers pull with licences, fitness, road stops, etc…etc…


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