Could someone tell me if we’re really living under the PPP or the PNC? First, chicken disappeared from the shelves. Now, sugar. The PPP always used to boast how they knew how to run sugar. Even in the days when canefields were being burned during the Burnham years, the PPP reassured us that the PNC had no clue on sugar and that if they were in power they would show how to run the sugar industry. After all, the PPP got a massive chunk of its support from the sugar industry. So 1992 comes around and the PPP got their opportunity. The self-proclaimed masters of sugar got 19 years to show us some sugar. Instead we got 19 years of bitterness. A 19-year ‘cane-ing.‘ Mismanagement to incompetence to wastage to ineptitude to cluelessness to hair pulling to now no sugar on the shelves. How did we end up from the guys showing the PNC how to burn cane to not enough cane-burning after every crop to not enough sugar to sweeten that customary cup of Guyanese tea in the evening. Well, ask that guy who wants to be President. His name is Donald Ramotar. He has been sitting on the board of GuySuCo for donkey years now. Ask him for your two tablespoons of sugar. He won’t give you answers but still ask him. He is part and parcel of the degrading of the sugar industry.
While you’re asking, ask Presi-dent Jagdeo and his family member by marriage, Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud for your sweetener for your tea. These are the guys who built a big fancy shiny looking white elephant factory at Skeldon that keeps breaking down and malfunctioning more than the decision-making process at Cabinet meetings. They built a packaging plant at Enmore that costs more than a bigger plant in Kenya but they can’t seem to package sugar for the Guyanese people to put in their parsad, mettai, cross buns, cakes and sweetmeats.
No government has poured so much into sugar and came up so bitter, empty and unsweetened. It tells me the PPP has no clue on sugar and on industrial development. They are lost. They don’t know what to do. You can’t spend your way to competency. You can’t purchase acumen and managerial skills. Machinery can’t replace brainpower. After all, someone has to operate it, has to fix it and maintain it. You can’t force people to remain tied to sugar when you have broken it and made a royal mess of it. You can’t force people to accept foreign management when you have not trained them and equipped them to manage their own industry.
From chicken to sugar to what next? Consumers are seeing no sugar on the shelves but GuySuCo’s Deputy Chief Execu-tive Officer Rajendra Singh says there is no shortage. He also says the price is the same at $4,900 per 100-lb bag. If Mr Singh’s price is to be believed, it means Guyanese are paying US 24.5 cents per pound of sugar while the world price is at US 28.41 cents per pound. Savings of a whopping US 3.91 cents or $7.82 per pound of sugar. At least Guyanese-Americans earning the equivalent of $9.45 million per year are paying US 3.91 cents more for sugar than Guyanese in Guyana earning $0.5 million per year. But then again these Guyanese-Americans are paying $261 per pound of chicken while Guyanese in Guyana are paying $400 per pound. People tend to eat more chicken than sugar in Guyana. If someone had mentioned no sugar on the shelves in a PPP-led Guyana twenty years ago, they would have been run out of town.
Mr Ramotar can’t deliver sweetness to this country. He gave us many years of GuySuCo bitterness.