The AFC today accused the government of strangling the sugar industry and it denied calling for its closure.
The AFC statement follows:
The Alliance For Change wishes to categorically state that it never promoted a position to close the sugar industry. This is downright political wickedness on the part of the tottering PPP/C Governemnt. The headline in the PPP controlled Guyana Chronicle of Thursday, March 13, 2014 is nothing but gross misrepresentation. This government is hard-headed and cannot understand the difference between transformation and closure. To make it clear, the AFC’s call for transformation would ensure the survival and sustainability of the industry based on complete sacking and replacement of the Board of Directors with competent persons, a Commission of Inquiry into the Skeldon Factory where $44 billion of taxpayers money went into modernising this ‘white elephant’, diversification to include ethanol production and alcohol products and involve the Union in the management of the Corporation
After some 21 years in power, it is the PPP government that has brought the sugar industry to its knees through mismanagement, cronyism and downright disregard for the livelihoods of sugar workers. While it accuses the AFC of supporting the closure of the sugar industry it is in fact the government that is slowly tightening the noose around GuySuCo’s neck by continuing to place square pegs in round holes to manage the industry. The government is also guilty of siphoning off billions of dollars from the EU that could have been spent to turn the industry around but instead used much of the EU funds intended for sugar to prop-up the economy while it allowed sugar to slide into further failures.
The position of the Alliance For Change is that GuySuCo must be transformed to make it economically viable and this can be done by ensuring better management of the corporation, retooling the industry to ensure better production and moving towards meaningful diversification and integration of other by-products such as ethanol production.
At the end of the day, it is the livelihoods of thousands of ordinary workers that are being threatened as the government continues to fool around with the sugar industry.