Sep 29, 2020 Letters
After working for 38 years in GuySuCo, in both field and factory and now retired, it pains me to see the state of the estates that were closed down by the previous government. It grieves me to see the condition of the field cultivation where drainage and irrigation canals are completely blocked by vegetation that one can walk across without going down, field machinery and equipment were allowed to rot and the cane beds covered with weeds and bushes that they look like jungle.
It is criminal what the previous administration has done to GuySuCo, especially the closed estates. Who give Granger, Nagamootoo, Ramjattan and their government the power to close down and destroy GuySuCo without the permission of the people and put 7000 workers and their families on the breadline, when even their own commission of enquiry did not recommend closure, but privatization? How can these people be so callous to destroy the lives of thousands of Guyanese, while they enjoy the good life? If they had follow the recommendation of their own Commission of Inquiry and privatised the company, today GuySuCo would have been a thriving, vibrant and profitable industry and the workers and their families enjoying a higher standard of living. Of course, they had to privatise while the company was a going concern and all the factories were grinding.
A word of caution to the new government: while it is commendable that there are plans to reopen Skeldon, Rose Hall and the East Demerara Estates, there are a few things that you need to look at:
1) The amount of money you will need to expend to get all three estates viable again. I saw in the budget $3 billion allocated. That’s chicken feed. It will take a huge amount to bring back those three estates.
2) The quality of personnel from top to bottom to manage those estates. We all know over the years the cry about low level of wages and salaries in Guysuco and if you do not pay competitive wages and salaries, you will not attract the brightest and the best and you will have to settle for the mediocre which will not be good for the company. The young people must not see Guysuco as a stop gap to greater heights, but a company where they will work until they reach pension age. In other words, they must see a future in Guysuco.
3) Finally, the government must ensure that corruption and fraud are weeded out in GuySuCo. That has been a bugbear since nationalisation in 1976. Those of us who worked there can attest to the pervasive corruption and fraud that has been one of many reasons GuySuCo has not been profitable over the years. And that is why, as soon as those three estates are up and running, government should take a decision to privatise the entire industry.
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