As a Guyanese who care deeply for all my fellow brothers and sisters and for their future development it pains me to observe the crass approach adopted by no other than Christopher Ram in his continued attempts to mislead this nation through his writing.
This individual who is always keen on coming across as an intelligent person in a letter to the media (May 18 2001) on the sugar industry was forced to admit that the launch of the Enmore Packaging Plant was a good idea by Government for the future of the industry.
However, in his feeble attempts to denigrate the project or those behind it he drew comparison to a packaging plant built by Kenya’s largest sugar miller using a Brazilian company at a cost of US$3 million dollars in his quest to mislead those not familiar with the Enmore project which cost US$12.5 million dollars. In this process he also questioned why the authorities had to go as far as India to source their plant as the project was completed by Surendra Engineering Corp.
It is the latter question which will now cause all Guyanese to question the analytical competence of Ram who is always eager to be known as a financial/free market Tzar.
One now has to ponder if Ram had a problem with Guyana going all the way to India and justifies this by holding up the Kenyan model. Didn’t the Kenyans go a far way in sourcing the help of a private Brazilian company?
What is more important, however, is for a free market Tzar like Ram to apparently suffer from a temporary brain fade and forget how a free market system operates in that the project was tendered in keeping with established procedures and transparency and the successful bidder was then chosen to execute the project. I am sure he did not even bother to check if the Brazilian company had tendered for the project in the first instance.
But the most interesting aspect of Ram’s apparent temporary memory loss on Project Gold is that he forgot that the project not only entailed the construction of a packaging plant, but also a warehouse capable of storing 80,000 tonnes of sugar and the significant improvements to the factory itself which will enhance sugar quality.
This ‘sugar expert’ then lamented the importance of GuySuCo having to cut its cost of production if it is to maintain its survival and stated that this was conveniently ignored at the launch of the packaging plant.
It is a clear example that Ram comes up with a conclusion to his letters before giving much thought on what they will contain as if he was paying any attention to what was said, he would have heard Mr. Donald Ramotar saying that the completion of Project Gold is yet ‘another’ step in creating a modern sugar producing complex in East Demerara as he also highlighted similar efforts in other areas of the Industry.
While this project was under way, simultaneously efforts were being made to retire the Diamond lands as the cost of production was high in this area, because of the great distance the canes had to travel to the factory. This shortfall was made up by the continued expansion of cultivation areas at Enmore and LBI.
Then rather than having two factories performing sub-optimally which was largely due to an inconsistency in cane supply, the decision was taken to close the smaller LBI factory and focus
operations at Enmore which has been improved through Project Gold and which will now benefit from a steady supply of canes coming from both LBI and Enmore estates.
Mr. Ramotar also expressed his desire to have the factories follow the Skeldon model of producing electricity for the national grid in the coming years.
Are these not efforts to reduce the cost of production?
These plans did not materialise overnight Mr. Ram. The same thing you are preaching now was done a few years ago as conceptualized in the turnaround plan and despite you and your opposition colleagues’ constantly ganging up to attack the industry and those that were working hard to see it through its tough time, they persevered and are gradually being vindicated by no less a person than yourself.
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