Home Letters GuySuCo has become a football for politicians
In a news media letter of Sept 7 on the above referenced subject, the writer expressed the view that instead of closing Wales Sugar Estate, GuySuCo should distribute the sugar lands to the laid-off workers and let them continue to cultivate the lands and supply the factory with purportedly profitably grown canes since in his opinion, “private cane farming has been relatively productive and profitable compared to the high cost of GuySuCo’s cultivation”.
It is apparent that the writer and some other observers are under the illusion that sugar cane can once again be grown profitably in Guyana despite the many factors and circumstances which suggest otherwise.
GuySuCo is a wholly owned corporation of the APNU/AFC Government, which ultimately has to approve all its major policy decisions. Unfortunately since nationalisation, GuySuCo became a ‘football’ for the politicians of the day who have used Guyana’s largest employer for cronyism with the appointment of unqualified and incompetent personnel in every segment of the industry.
These hapless employees eventually ran GuySuCo into the ground, making it impossible for the industry to return to profitability without large capital investment and complete reorganisation of its operations.
The government does not have the management, technical and financial capacity to make the necessary changes to improve productivity and return GuySuCo to profitability.
Further, it will be unable to get funding from the capital markets and development banks for any anticipated improvement of GuySuCo which is not a viable entity and hence to attract investors to bankroll the needed upgrade and changes would be hard to find.
The APNU/AFC had appointed a commission to examine the operations of GuySuCo and make recommendations for its viability. The findings of the commission were never made public and they are still under cover apparently to keep sugar workers in the dark until such time that their eventual demise is announced, as the government is fully aware that the findings of the commission spells doomsday for GuySuCo and any workers’ agitation on receipt of bad news regarding their employment can adversely impact their performance and the precarious partnership between the APNU and AFC.
Therefore, it’s in no one’s interest to scuttle the boat at this time since some of the politicians and public employees are benefitting handsomely as they enrich themselves from the spoils of a relatively corrupt society.
Sadly there is no accountability for performance among the politicians and as such the coalition members will continue to go along to get along glossing over their political differences and approve the subsidies for GuySuCo since the loss of power could hurt their earnings and lucrative benefits as well as do considerable damage to their inflated egos.
GuySuCo is heavily indebted and is absorbing government subsidies at an alarming rate to avoid bankruptcy as the industry contracts and its overhead expenses escalate. The current management is apparently aware of this and has started to explore ways and means to dispose of abandoned sugar lands and decrepit factories to reduce the debt load and subsidies.
Disposal of state properties has to be open and transparent since some current politicians and public employees have shown a penchant for corruption and backdoor deals. Much real estate knowledge on the disposal of sugar lands such as parcelling for optimum price and location valuation could be obtained from the Vieiras who have acquired considerable knowledge disposing of their sugar lands at Houston, in Georgetown and Versailles on the West Bank Demerara for many years now with great success and huge profits.
GuySuCo cannot be resurrected to its former glory and therefore it has to wind down its operations and liquidate as quickly as is possible since the subsidies it receives are not infinite and can only continue to damage the other sectors of the Guyanese economy for lack of needed investment.
Finally, GuySuCo has an obligation to compensate sugar workers for the termination of their services. It should also explore means and methods to retrain them to acquire the skills which will enable them to obtain gainful employment on the open market.
Unfortunately the APNU/AFC government has no development plan in place to grow the Guyanese economy to provide jobs for the displaced sugar workers and all those people with skills waiting to enter the workplace for the first time.