I had written in the media on October 11, 2019 that profitability should not have been the sole criterion for the closure of the estates, and that has always been the position of the PPP/C in Government and as the Opposition.
The Leader of the Opposition is emphatic that the focus should have been on the economic viability, and he succinctly pointed out the numerous economic benefits, as well as the devastating effects of the multiplier effect. The closure of the estates has cost the economy more than it has saved, but the Coalition was not only trigger happy, it was greedy as well.
In direct contravention of sound economic policies, the Coalition took no time to shutter four estates and ‘wrong sized’ the remaining three to the point of utter destruction. In this letter I will be dealing with the APNU/AFC coalition‘s deliberate and vindictive acts to obliterate sugar from the economic landscape of Guyana.
It must be recalled that in May 2017, the Coalition Government prepared and presented in Parliament a ‘White Paper’ on sugar, in which they embarked on their journey of deceit to paint a good picture of how they will return the sugar industry to profitability. This was a deliberate smokescreen to camouflage its callous closure of the four estates and firing of over 7,000 workers. The restructuring was supposed to produce 147,000 tons of sugar to satisfy the local and foreign markets. Over two years later, the Sugar industry is still struggling to produce a mere 100,000 tons after spending $12 billion subsidy and $17.6 billion from the $30 billion bond.
In this ‘White paper’, the Government admitted that the sugar industry made an ‘invaluable contribution’ over the years, and yet they deliberately destroyed the same industry. Moreover, the Paper did not address the negative social and economic impacts to the closure of the estates, since the sugar workers are expendables and the promise to upgrade and embarked on co-generation and the production of plantation white sugar are yet to be put in motion.
But what is more appalling is the fact that the shuttered estates, both the factories and the fields, have been destroyed to such an extent that no investor will ever pursue it as an investment.
Despite all these failed economic policies, the Government is still trying to blame the PPP/C for the current failures.
This Coalition has spent $32 billion in ‘bailouts’ and $17.6 billion from a $30 billion bond, a total of $49.6 billion, and everything has fallen apart. That amount of money could have subsidized the entire GuySuCo, inclusive of the closed estates for a period of at least eight years – that would have been until 2023 – and the economic and social devastation this nation is now plunged into would have been avoided.
Granger it seems had slept through his entire tenure as President, since he has now awoken to the fact that to make the industry economically viable will take 3 to 4 years. This is what the PPP/C was saying all along, and as seen above, the entire sugar industry could have been saved with the $49.6 billion wasted by his Government. It is worth noting that the PPP/C only spent $26 billion to keep the entire GuySuCo afloat from 2011-2015.
I could recall that the PPP/C in its 2015 manifesto had said that the Sugar Industry needed $20 billion to bring it back to viability and the Commission of Inquiry done by the Coalition came to a similar conclusion. The COI never mentioned closure.
I have no doubt that a PPP/C Government will be able to reopen the estates. They are not comprised of voodoo economists, and Dr. Irfaan Ali is a competent and world-class economist, backed by a most competent team led by the maestro, Dr. Jagdeo.
Aug 10, 2020By Sean Devers Thirteen years older than his 22-year-old opponent, undefeated Guyanese born Lennox ‘2 Sharp’ Allen stepped into the ring for the biggest fight of his 16 years as a professional...
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