NICIL boss says GuySuCo divestment halted due to unstable political situation

SPU Head, Colvin Heath-London, and DDL Chairman, in conversation with others at the event on Friday
FILE: NICIL Head, Colvin Heath-London in conversation with others at a previous event

Divestment of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) remains on pause while Guyana’s political situation remains an unstable one.

National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited’s (NICIL) has been seeking investors for the closed sugar estates and their assets, but acting Chief Executive Officer Colvin Heath-London said that for now, this is all on pause until political events are resolved.

“In terms of the divestment, we have several investors lined up. But they’re all not going forward until the political situation returns to some normalcy. So, it’s wait-and-see until then.”

He explained that this is the situation with all the estates being divested.

Zeroing in on one of those estates, this publication requested clarity on the status of Wales. In response, Heath-London said private farmers and some former sugar workers have taken up land at Wales for farming.

He also explained that Amazonia Expert Services Limited, the company granted a 20-year lease last year by the Government to cultivate and process coconuts, has started its preparations.

Since closure of the Wales, East Demerara, Rose Hall and Skeldon estates, and the firing of thousands of sugar workers, Government had moved to divest the facilities.

United Kingdom (UK) company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), was contracted to carrying out valuations of GuySuCo’s assets up for sale, and had invited expressions of interest from potential buyers.

Initially, 10 expressions of interest were received, but only five companies eventually entered bids.

Extra Virgin Coconut Products (EVCP) and Amazonia Expert Services Incorporated (AESI) are the two companies which received 680 acres of land from the estate’s assets. However, just prior to elections in March of this year, former sugar workers were lamenting the fact that they were still waiting on the land grants that the APNU/AFC Administration had promised they would receive to continue their livelihood.

Many sugar workers, throughout this time, have vented their disappointment in the coalition Government for “neglecting” their woes and interests.