The problems plaguing the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) of recent have to do with the need for restructuring due to the growing change in the trading regime internationally.
This is according to President Donald Ramotar who also told a news conference at State House yesterday that the $6 billion the government had given to the corporation was to help in the recapitalization and restructuring that is taking place.
In response to questions on government’s appointment of a new board at GuySuCo, the President said, “The board comes to an end in June or July and we will put in a new board but I don’t agree with the opposition and I don’t think that you should always take what the opposition says hook, line and sinker. I am not on the board anymore. I was the only political person on the board and I wasn’t there because of my political connections, I was there because I was recommended. I am going to put in a competent board…”
Although, the corporation has been inundated with problems over the years, Ramotar expressed confidence that “the best days of the sugar industry are still ahead of us.”
He noted that GuySuCo has been attracting a lot of bad press lately and that the corporation should be more out of the press than in it.
“GuySuCo has to change because of those changes that have occurred internationally,” he said, adding that another reason was because of the local labour situation since Guyana does not have a huge surplus of labour.
“GuySuCo as a whole has been operating at just over 60% turnout in the field. In some estates it has been in the low 40%. The need for restructuring is there and it needs support and understanding of everyone,” he said.
According to Ramotar, this year’s first crop was “heartening”. “The target was set at 74,600 tonnes and they were able to achieve 79,000 tonnes. Skeldon, the area that has been under a lot of scrutiny, had a target of 13,795 tonnes and was able to achieve 13,810 tonnes.”
The President also informed that there were a lot of challenges faced and one of these was climate change.
“We can demonstrate that climate change is a big issue too that Guysuco has to be faced with. Since 2005 to now average opportunity days to do all the work has been reduced from 120 to 80 days,” he said.
He added, “we have to be thankful to GuySuCo. It has been the grandfather of all other industries in this country.”
Ramotar also informed that co-generation is another area that has to be looked at and he had discussed this at a recent meeting with Guyana Power and Light (GPL) officials. “I was telling them that they need to work closer with GuySuCo on the point of view of energy perspective to look at how they can help to maximize output…with renewable energy and as efficient as possible.”