The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) could move to greater mechanisation in the harvesting of sugar cane and find alternative employment for disenchanted cane cutters who have been staying away from the fields, says AFC Presidential Candidate Khemraj Ramjattan.
“What GuySuCo needs is drastic surgery to ensure it survives, as the facts show that since 2005 sugar production has not recovered, and it is clear that the so-called Turnaround Plan has failed,” Ramjattan declared yesterday. He blamed mismanagement of the industry on the ruling PPP, which he suggested has put “professional hacks” on the board, including the party’s Presidential Candidate Donald Ramotar, instead of professionals.
Ramjattan says his party is committed to building a sugar industry that is based on innovation and sustainability where the infrastructure and technological needs of the industry are in place.
He told reporters that the AFC’s sugar action plan, once the party gets into office, is to create many new jobs, by among other things, engaging investors to develop the Canje Basin to produce ethanol and other bio-fuel using the latest harvesting technology with mechanised harvesters.
Further, he said the AFC’s plan includes using “our abundant sugar/molasses to produce ethanol for local use thus saving the Demerara Estates.”
He also talked about “legislating the E-10 policy where all fuel sold in Guyana will be blended with 10% of Guyanese-produced bio-fuel thus saving Guyana over US$40 million in foreign expenditure per annum.”
For those workers who could be put off by mechanised harvesting of canes, Ramjattan says they could find “newer types of employment” if there is a drive towards ethanol production.
Further, Ramjattan commended the move towards value added production at the Enmore Packaging Plant, but says more such ventures could be undertaken to save the industry.
Ramjattan painted a bleak picture of the sugar industry, saying that President Bharrat Jagdeo has sought to absolve his administration and the Board of GuySuCo of the state of the sugar belt.
“President Jagdeo’s statement that ‘sugar would be dead without the political commitment’ from his Government is most deceiving and can only be compared to the other deceptive statement made by Donald Ramotar that the ‘Board of Guysuco cannot be blamed for the company’s woes’,” Ramjattan stated.
“The most challenging aspect of our finding in the sugar belt is the determination of the PPP to hide the truth and bamboozle the people with sheer mendacity.
“The demise of GuySuCo was created and caused by the PPP’s poor leadership and by stacking the board with people, many of whom do not have a clue of what is required to run a sugar industry,” Ramjattan added.
He said that should the AFC get into office, it would professionalise GuySuCo “with competent leaders, not political hacks, so that the corporation can truly turn around for the greater good of the nation.”
Ramjattan also said the AFC would analyse GuySuCo “from top to bottom” using a highly competent international technical team from Brazil or India to find the loss makers in GuySuCo and the production bottleneck “so that we can do something about them, saving the company billions in the process.”
He said the AFC would also provide funding for sugar research so that we can accelerate the building of the required local competence in the industry.
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