Government’s intention of borrowing $15B- to reopen the Skeldon and Enmore estates- could be to pay off liabilities of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to relieve “handpicked investors” of any burden.
This is the view expressed by Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who told journalist at a press conference today (Thursday) that he is concerned that the intent of the $15B is to “clear off liabilities for GuySuCo- maybe the short term liabilities- so that the people that they have already identified to take over these estates will come in with a clean slate.”
Jagdeo lamented that it is his belief that “handpicked companies” will take over the estates after the liabilities are cleared but the State would carry the burden to repay those loans.
“…Because they come in, the State clears off all the liabilities of these estates and then they will just cherry pick the top. Take how many workers they want, refashion things, etcetera. Maybe even sell out some of our assets. So I think that’s the idea here,” he posited.
Moreover, the former Head of State further noted that based on what the Government and GuySuCo has said in the past, all sugar estates could have remained open with $10B per year, but now they want that same amount to assist with reopening the estates for only a few months.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said yesterday that the plan is to keep them operational as it searches for buyers.
The Minister noted that the estates will not be opened for just one month, as it could possibly be opened for several months, while highlighting that the goal was to close deals on the estates’ purchases in another six to nine months.
Jordan said the loans to fund the operations of these two estates should be acquired before mid-March and will be repaid by National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) over a period of three to five years.
He also declared that revenues generated from the sale of estates and other assets would be used to repay the loans.
The Government will be turning to commercials banks for this syndicated bond.