Vibert Parvatan heads sugar probe team

The APNU+AFC government yesterday named the members of the Commission to inquire into the troubled sugar industry and said it is expected to work closely with the Interim Management Team of GuySuCo over a three- month period commencing July 1, 2015.

The Commission’s members are: Vibert Parvatan (Chairman), Prof. Clive Thomas (Financial and Economic Analysis), Dr. Harold Davis and John Piggot (Agronomists), John Dow and Joseph Alfred (Factory Operations), George James (Sugar Processing), Nowrang Persaud (Industrial Relations), Claude Housty (Market-ing), Seepaul Narine, GAWU Represen-tative and Omadatt Chandan who will serve as the Commission’s Secretary.

Members of the Commission of Inquiry yesterday met with Agriculture Minister Noel Holder. The meeting saw discussions on the Commission’s Terms of Reference in charting the way forward for the industry.

This GINA photo shows the team meeting with Agriculture Minister Noel Holder (at head of table)
This GINA photo shows the team meeting with Agriculture Minister Noel Holder (at head of table)

Parvatan is a former Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture under the PNC. A number of the persons on the team are former GuySuCo employees including Dr Harold Davis and Nowrang Persaud. The inclusion of a GAWU representative puts the union front and centre of the reform process. Under the previous government, GAWU had complained that it had been shut out of decision-making fora on sugar.

The meeting was held in the Boardroom of the Minister’s Regent and Shiv Chanderpaul Drive office.

The eleven-member Commission, during its investigation will develop a 15-year plan which is expected to bring the industry back to profitability and ensure long-term environmental and economic sustainability, GINA said.

Among the work which will be carried out by the Commission is investigating the current state of cane cultivation, factory operations, and production and marketing of sugar, molasses and other by-products. GINA said that special emphasis will also be placed on human resources, research and development, diversification of the industry, community obligations, weather events, marketing, finance, procurement, factory performance and management.

The Ministry of Agriculture said it will provide all logistical support to ensure the Commission executes its duties effectively.

In the last decade the corporation has seen a slump in sugar production, a heightened cost of production, rising losses, unpredictable weather and a diminishing labour supply.

GuySuCo recently received part of a bailout after the now fired Chief Executive Officer Dr Rajendra Singh told the new government that without financing the industry would have to shut down,

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