Some harsh decisions must be made at GuySuCo

Dear Editor,
Letter writer Liebert Alleyne, in a letter to the press, provided a statistical comparison of cane productivity of eleven CEOs of GuySuCo; and, not surprisingly, the incumbent CEO ranked the poorest performer at 46.6 tonnes cane per hectare.
The last CEO, Harold Davis Jnr, produced canes at 62.6 tonnes per hectare, and this was supposedly under severe constraints. It is therefore no wonder that the low cane yields would translate into low sugar production, which has seen a progressive decline since 2020, with the first crop this year being the lowest sugar production ever. With a target as small at 20,260 tonnes, the industry could scrape in only just over 13,000 tonnes.
GAWU had contended that there are many agronomic issues, and had questioned major decisions affecting production and productivity which were taken without the consent of the Board. It must be mentioned here that the Board currently constitutes a team of selected, hand-picked individuals, after the immediate resignation of the Chairman and then the subsequent resignation of the Vice-Chairman. Both men resigned after altercations and disagreements with the CEO, based on alleged malpractices perpetuated by no other than the CEO himself.
The current CEO feels that targeting the sales mix by selling more packaged sugar would rake in more revenue, since the price is more lucrative at over US$700 per tonne. However, there are some variables which he is overlooking. What would you sell, if you do not produce enough? Will you continue to increase the price on the local market, thereby pressuring our local consumers? Will the production cost be lowered?
There are factors which suggest that the production cost would keep climbing, such as the increased cost of tillage by using the articulated tractors, the increased cost of unnecessarily doubling the low-grade rock phosphate application, etc. Unit cost of production must come down, and production must go up, but the current state of affairs suggests that neither would happen. Empty rhetoric cannot achieve this.
The second crop is now in progress, and from all indications, the fortunes of GuySuCo continue on a downward trend, with no solution on the horizon. As at 28th July, the out-of-cane hours for the 3 operating estates ranged from 81 to 93 hours per week, with a weekly TC/TS ranging between 15 and 22. Records show that there is already a negative variance of 2,706 tonnes. This is indicative that GuySuCo may not be able to achieve its second crop target as well.
This Government has given GuySuCo all the resources it needs. There is no room for excuses, but there is no dearth of excuses from the leadership of the ailing Corporation. From 2020 to June 2022, $14.5 billion dollars has been given to GuySuCo, and from this, more than $10 billion went to the operating estates, and, to date, there is no visible benefit accruing; instead, cane productivity fell sharply, and there is now gross discontentment among sugar workers, who are not witnessing the anticipated improvement promised by the CEO. Where did the $10 billion go?
GAWU and its members have now been calling for the removal of the CEO. As promised by the President, it must not be business as usual at GuySuCo, and heads must roll. Some harsh decisions must be made to ensure that sugar survives, since the Government has only recently pumped another $3.4 billion into GuySuCo. These sums of money must be spent in an efficient, economic and effective manner to bring about maximum benefits, and this needs competent leadership.

Yours sincerely,
Narendra Lall