Government is set to make an announcement shortly on a new Board of Directors for the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
The decision would be key as GuySuCo is not only facing cash problems and some pending major decisions at its three estates, but there is friction, it appears, between the corporation and the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) which has been established to oversee the privatisation and divestment of four others.
The four, Skeldon, Rose Hall, Enmore and Wales, are now under the control of the SPU, which has been established under the state’s National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
Officials disclosed that a list for new directors has been submitted to Government for a diverse, 12-member board to be constituted as quickly as possible.
Government has expressed dissatisfaction with the old board headed by Professor Clive Thomas which oversaw the closure of the four estates in the last 14 months.
The Ministry of the Presidency, which said it was obviously aware of the plans of GuySuCo to take cost-cutting measures, made it clear that the decision of the corporation to send home more than 4,000 workers from Skeldon, Rose Hall and Enmore was not vetted by Cabinet.
Since last December, the four estates have been placed in the hands of the SPU which is now seeking investors.
Already, international consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been hired to value the assets of the four estates, before the vetting of proposals of potential investors start.
The entire process should be over by September.
GuySuCo is broke, receiving over $32B since 2015. It is producing sugar at three times the price on the world market. The number of estates has been reduced by the administration from seven to now three.
Rum giant, `Demerara Distillers Limited, has made a proposal for the running of Enmore Estate because its supply of molasses, a by-product from sugar production, is under threat. Molasses is a key ingredient in DDL’s rum making process.
SPU wants the deal to be tied up soonest with canes in the ground and workers standing by to return to work.
The issues from fallouts would be compounded by recent events which indicated that GuySuCo is not too happy with the situation.
Over the weekend, SPU getting ready to reopen the Enmore estate, East Coast Demerara, was met with resistance.
While there are indications that management was alerted, the security at the gates insisted that they had no authority to allow persons in.
This happened two days in a row- Friday and Saturday, Kaieteur News was told.
However, officials said that SPU explained to Government that it sent notices to GuySuCo’s senior officials last week.
SPU’s head, Colvin Heath-London was not immediately available for a comment.
However, officials explained that the personnel dispatched by SPU were former Enmore technicians who have been instructed to conduct work on the boiler system at the factory, among other things.
A number of former Enmore employees were hired to help in the restart of the factory.
GuySuCo reportedly has no cash; Government and SPU are looking at a number of financing options for the four closed estates, as well as the three that have remained open– Albion, Rose Hall and Blairmont.
Government has been insisting the sugar industry, which has been falling to new lows in recent years, have been dragging depleting the little cash reserves of the country.
The industry boasted of almost 17,000 workers post 2016 but this has been reduced to over 10,000 now.
There are over 70 proposals for the four estates- including from local and international companies.
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