The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) on Friday expressed concern with regards to the $30B bond Government borrowed with the expressed intention of revitalizing the remaining of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) estates.
“As the year ends, the GAWU remains concerned that, so far, the stakeholders nor the public have seen a clear plan regarding the $30B borrowed…” said the Union.
Moreover, it was recalled that Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has disclosed in the National Assembly that the bond is aimed mainly to “acquire two co-generation plants; to upgrade existing factories to produce plantation white sugar; to build storage and packing facilities; and to contribute to two (2) years of general operational costs”.
GAWU, however during their end-of-year press briefing expressed their observation that there was no mention of investments in the canefields in an effort to improve productivity.
” In April, this year, the then GuySuCo CEO, Paul Bhim in a GuySuCo/SPU engagement with GAWU told us that $11B would be spent on capital works across the three (3) estates with about 70 per cent of that sum being utilized in the fields. While we are supportive of initiatives in co-generation and white sugar, there success is largely predicated on having sufficient quantities of canes available” GAWU explained.
Jordan had informed that GuySuco had presented a plan to the Administration to engender its viability.
GAWU, among other things, also made mention of the Agriculture Minister’s apparent outburst while on a television broadcast which revealed that he was ” clueless about the monies that were borrowed.”
“It seemed to us that apparently Minister Holder is out of the loop regarding the monies that have been borrowed which are backed by a sovereign Government guarantee and secured by the assets of NICIL – which incidentally belong to the people of Guyana.”
The organisation maintained that the Minister’s outburst was another demonstration of how the affairs of the country are addressed by the Administration, while noting that it also brings into focus the Administration’s more than confused approach to the sugar industry generally.
Nevertheless, GAWU noted that it remains supportive of plans that would secure the sugar industry and safeguard its viability.
“However, our support is predicated on sound, credible and well-though-out plans. The seeming secrecy shrouding the plans for the bond borrowed with a sovereign guarantee is something that causes us to feel uneasy and worried” GAWU said. “If it is there is a plan, as the Minister of Finance says, we urge those in authority to share those plans with a view to having full discussions as all stakeholders are desirous of having a successful sugar industry.”