Latest update March 21st, 2023 12:59 AM
Oct 04, 2008 News
…inquiry into low production begins Monday
It was a morning of pulling and tugging between the top brass of Guyana Sugar Corporation and members of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union yesterday when the parties clashed in the presence of Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud, who visited the East Demerara sugar estates.
During a stop at the fields in Enterprise, East Coast Demerara, just over an hour was spent deliberating who was wrong and who was right to the sugar workers, as the management of Guysuco explained the corporation’s position to the minister.
The union, on the other hand, left no stone unturned as it accused the sugar company of finding excuses for its deficiencies.
Views were aired on all aspects of the industry, including the lack of communication, the negligence of the corporation to properly monitor the fields, and the drop in productivity.
The company, in return, defended its position, pointing out problems with pests, tillage activities and lost opportunity days.
Despite the drizzling rain, both sides stood their ground, arguing invariably about the industry, with minister Persaud constantly having cause to intervene in an attempt to control them.
After much arguing, Persaud told both parties that it is time for ‘urgent action,’ because it’s very devastating if Guyana is going to have a constant lack of meeting targets in the industry.
He said that while he is constantly being told that work is being conducted and corrective measures are being put in place at the East Demerara estates, production is still lacking.
“When you look at the sugar production number, it does not translate into production meeting our targets and sustaining whatever we have set as targets,” Persaud said.
Beginning on Monday, Persaud said, a five-member team will be conducting an inquiry into the production of the East Demerara estates.
The team will comprise members of the sugar company and the union.
Head of the team will be former Chairman of the GuySuCo Board of Directors, Vic Odit. According to Persaud, the team will have five weeks to assess the situation.
“We need to focus a bit more on this, because everyone has expressed concerns about what is taking place…we hope this is the way to have the communication problems dealt with also.”
The union itself has been asking for greater involvement in sharing its ideas with management about concepts that will be helpful in assisting the sugar company to extricate communication problems being experienced with workers.
The minister said that the inquiry will not take more than five weeks. He added that the inquiry is aimed to look at what are the issues and the constraints, and even examining what is being done to address the production and agricultural issues facing East Demerara.
Yesterday, both the union and management of GuySuCo agreed to cooperate in the inquiry. During the drive to the estates, there were visible signs of the lack of proper disposal services in the area, as garbage was in and along the main canals leading to the fields.
According to one of the managers at GuySuCo, persons are not disposing of their garbage properly, choosing instead to dump it in the waterways. This, the manager said, has been causing some problems with the drainage systems for the estate.
The review that will be conduced will examine land preparation, sugar cane agronomy, use of field machines and equipment, cane transport, use of fertilizers, and maintenance of field infrastructure.
Cabinet has intervened in the lagging production at the sugar company, and has ordered a financial and production review of the company.
The reviews are not intended as a prelude to the closure of any estate, and in no way prevent short-term interventions designed to improve sugar production.
Rather, a release from the Ministry of Agriculture said, they are intended to get an independent assessment of the production situation confronting the industry and to propose solutions/interventions.
Over the years, GuySuCo has consistently reviewed its production targets, including this year’s, and among the many excuses proffered are far reaching strikes, weather, loss of opportunity, as well as the consistent delay of the start-up and sustained operations of the Skeldon Factory.
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