There is need for a transparent, apolitical examination of reforms for sugar production

Dear Editor,

We at Pro Guyana note recent public disclosures of information about GuySuCo, and the continued evidence of profound mismanagement of a significant industry for our nation and a large proportion of Guyanese citizens. The sugar industry is essential to Guyana’s future, even at this juncture in Guyana’s history, to be used as a divisive political device and vehicle for corruption.

The statistics regarding the company’s productivity are alarming in light of the fact that GuySuCo is the primary income earner for some 30,000 Guyanese families. As such, the consequences of GuySuCo’s failure are too frightening to even contemplate.

We call for a lucid, transparent, apolitical examination of reforms for sugar production in Guyana, involving all stakeholders, limited in time that are intended to be economically constructive and culturally positive. Too many livelihoods depend on the production of sugar, in a global environment that demands that Guyanese production be made more efficient and lucrative for hard working cane cutters and those who depend on them to put a meal on the table.

The problems facing the industry are structural and merely tinkering with the accounting will not help. To this end, we are disappointed that GAWU has been shut out of the new GuySuCo plan. The corporation has a duty to make profits for its shareholders, a duty to workers and a duty to the Guyanese society. Therefore, excluding GAWU is very troubling, to say the least as the union represents the interests of the majority of workers.

We call upon the government to form a national, non-partisan committee to examine several structural issues that could improve the fortunes of the industry, its workers and the country: (i) the agricultural science behind sugar, (ii) the best desired product mix and diversification, (iii) the potential for partial privatisation and (iv) the level of assets owned by the corporation.

Yours faithfully,

Errol Chapman

Mark Dacosta

Tarron Khemraj

 

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