By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Recently appointed Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder says the government will be providing subsidies to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) so that it will be able to sustain itself and pay staff but this is only for a limited time.
Holder made the comment while speaking to Members of the media on Tuesday, May 26 at the Guyana National Stadium where he pointed out that there was something amiss in the whole situation at GuySuco.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) on Monday said it was informed by GuySuCo’s CEO Rajendra Singh that the Corporation is unable to pay senior and junior staffers of the sugar industry for this month – May 2015.
A joint release from GAWU and NAACIE stated that this may lead to termination of its operations which would mean that all employees – waged and salaried – except security personnel would not be provided with work from (Sunday) May 31, 2015.
However, during the interview, Holder told reporters that he was never informed about the closure of the industry and the company not being able to pay the staff evening during a meeting with GuySuCo’s CEO.
“The CEO had met me on Monday morning…he gave me a document…in the document it stipulated that GuySuCo has funds to last until the end of May…from June it will have a problem.”
The Agriculture Minister explained that he was therefore surprised two hours later when GuySuCo informed the unions that they could not pay wages.
“The government isn’t going to let GuySuCo down,” said Holder as he explained that APNU+AFC promised to convene a Commission of Inquiry into the Sugar industry and that will be done.
However until that is done, the government will be subsiding operational costs at the company – something that the previous administration has been doing for a number of years.
“There is no way that the government would not support GuySuCo until the end of the year or until the results come in…I spoke to him [Singh] this morning and I think we came to some understanding,” Holder noted.