We must be grateful to Messrs Tony Vieira and E B John for penetrating the gloom cast over the sugar industry by the ruling politicians. Their analyses bring to light the shocking lack of proper performance indicators and planning. Mr John’s second sentence in his letter to SN of Nov 26 is priceless (‘Ranging at over 60% the wage bill in the sugar industry is disproportionate to its other costs’).
Mr John can also add me to the list of names submitted to the Minister of Agriculture without acknowledgement. Because I was specially trained in sugar technology of the most modern kind, I made the offer in writing to then Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud in August 2011 when it was reported that he announced that GuySuCo does not have the competence to run the Skeldon Sugar Factory and that the corporation is considering proposals from foreign companies to run it. A copy was sent to CEO Paul Bhim at GuySuCo head office at LBI, also without acknowledgement.
I credited the government with investing in modernising the sugar industry. It was a forward move, only, I did not like that knowledgeable Guyanese were not informed and consulted. Ideally both cane and factory should be ready at the same time. However, this was very difficult, so again I credited the government with erring on the side of the farmers; it would have been disastrous for them had they produced the cane and had no factory to process it. Cheddi would also have done it like that.
Since then, the continuation of the secrecies shrouding the corporation have only plunged it into deeper trouble. Has it ever occurred to the government that the rice industry prospers because its structure precludes this kind of secrecy existing for so long?