…when to fold it
When your Eyewitness heard about the latest travails of sugar at GuySuCo’s Uitvlugt factory, it set him thinking. The factory’s been closed for months, and the workers reduced to performing some “mek-up-wuk” to put some roti on their tables. He was reminded of FDR having one set of the unemployed dig holes and another set filling them in a bit later during their Great Depression. Both sets were given a stipend, and felt good that they weren’t given handouts – they WORKED for their money!! That’s a lesson the PPP’s obviously learnt – the need for working stiffs to salvage their pride!!
But what gave your Eyewitness the greatest pause was the announcement that the factory was down because a gear in the grinding mill had been manufactured and supplied FIFTY YEARS AGO – and the manufacturer had long gone out of business!! Now, businesses go completely out of business when their business is no longer needed!! So, the lesson gleaned was either the folks have gone out of the sugar business, or else moved to a new, more efficient technology to replace the old one.
And this brings us back to Uitvlugt sugar factory. Will the new gear to grind cane solve that location’s problems – which made it the highest cost producer for a century?? Even before the abolition of slavery, Gladstone had brought in the latest technology in vacuum pan crystallisation. But then realised he still needed cheap labour – which was indentured labour from India!! That made the estates remain viable till 1976, when they were nationalised. Not a bad strategic decision.
Well, we need someone to answer the question above on Uitvlugt – especially when we’ve just launched that fantastic “25 by 25” to bring food security to the region!! Maybe the Government should replicate Granger’s PNC’s $2.6 billion Rural Agricultural Infrastructural Development (RAID) programme.
Give the people at Uitvlugt some of the land that has been abandoned and – just as was done for Buxton, Ithaca, BV and Mocha – take care of the infrastructure, marketing, seedlings for a few needed “food security” crops, etc. And BINGO!!
These sugar workers already are used to getting their feed muddy and working in the sun all day long. Can you imagine the incentive when they know they’re working for themselves??! So yes, VP Jagdeo showed a lotta heart when he visited those Uitvlugt workers. Certainly more than Granger and his PNC did in 2015-2020. Now all he has to do is follow through your Eyewitness’s suggestion!!
With at least 1000 workers pooling their $200,000/each, they’ll now have a nice $200,000,000 seed money (pun NOT intended!).
In the meantime, has anyone figured how must sucrose (and revenue) will be lost in this crop’s old cane being “held over”??
…when BS is shovelled
As a parting suggestion, TT’s PM Keith Rowley suggested that their oil refinery – Petrotrin – is available for Guyana to refine our oil. Sounded reasonable, doesn’t it? Afer all, they’ve run out of oil to refine, and all they now have is a pile of rusting metal!! But even though the plant was shut down in 2018, the only offer (of US$700 million) has come from the Oil Union (whose members had received a US$400 million payout!). Rowley, however, has refused them twice, cause they can’t come up with the money up front!!
But apart from the mothballed facility rusting, there’s a more fundamental problem that Guyana would face if it takes Rowley’s bait. This’s because every refinery’s built and configured to process a certain type of input, and doesn’t operate well using the wrong input. Heavy crude oil refineries include cracking and coking units designed to break long-chain hydrocarbons into smaller hydrocarbons.
We produce very light sweet crude!! Nice try Keith!!
Your Eyewitness was very excited to hear we were bringing cage fighting to Guyana. You know, that no-holds-barred, brutal-beating -of-each-other-to-pulp? Then he read again, and it was “cage fishing”!
How’s that coming along?