I wish to agree with what letter writer, Gobin Harbhajan, wrote in the media recently.
The privatisation of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) should no longer be delayed or even debated. This industry has been made into a ‘political football’ even before nationalisation and should now be fully divested.
The Government should now be seeking concrete proposals from prospective investors to do a proper evaluation and find the right buyer. It is a waste of money to be fiddling further and set up committees to do any further evaluation.
Gobin Harbhajan’s comprehensive article in the media has made it conclusive that Government should be committed to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI).
I am in total agreement that the Skeldon Estate should be used as a pilot project in this drive towards full privatisation of GuySuCo at a later date. This Government has waited too long to start this process and this will result in creating more fears and a depressive atmosphere in the country. This is being used by the Opposition to portray this Government in a negative light to the people, especially to GuySuCo workers. They have been peddling the propaganda about closures and this has become credible since this Government made a gigantic blunder with the Wales Estate. As Harbhajan pointed out in his letter, this should never have happened.
The Opposition has also dubbed the merging of Rose Hall and Albion Estates as a ‘closure’ and has been pounding this into the psyche of Berbicians. Again, this could have been avoided if Rose Hall was set to be privatised. Also, the situation now with the Rose Hall Estate is a disgrace and a myopic move by this Government. The operational factory is being ‘cannibalised’ at a fast rate. Parts are being shuttled to Albion Estate factory which means that very soon that Estate’s factory will be completely destroyed. Why destroy a factory that was producing sugar efficiently?
If the Rose Hall Estate was privatised, it would have been sold as a going concern and would have garnered a good and lucrative bargain and the monies so obtained could have been utilised to effect repairs and improvements at the other estates.
Therefore, this Government should cease to make such huge blunders.
The only question that should now be addressed is finding the best candidate for the Skeldon Estate’s privatisation. The Government should not retain any shares in the estate, since the ‘political leash’ will still be there. We need to cut this off completely and abort the cronyism, corruption and mismanagement.
I also fully agreed with Harbhajan that local investors should be given a preference to foreign investors since there are reputable companies who have the finance and the expertise to transform Skeldon Estate into a profitable venture, maintain the labor force and ensure that the scarce US dollars remain at home. This will not only stabilise the US rate of exchange but will invigorate the economy of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
The Government needs to be open and decisive and remove the insecurities being experienced currently. The privatisation of Guysuco should begin now.