The European Union (EU) on Tuesday handed over 24 million Euros ($5.2b) to Guyana under a sugar programme which had been put on hold after Parliament was prorogued by former President Donald Ramotar in 2014.
A release yesterday from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that on Tuesday, Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission and Guyana’s Finance Minister Winston Jordan signed documents triggering the release to Guyana of over 24,424,000 Euros. This sum is attached to the Action Programme adopted by Guyana in the context of the Accompanying Measures Programme (AMP) for Sugar established by the European Union.
The release said that the signature took place on the margins of the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and European Union (CELAC-EU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The release noted that following the finding by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in 2004 that the EU Sugar Regime was inconsistent with WTO rules, the EU had set up a 1.2 billion Euros fund to assist sugar exporting countries like Guyana to reform their sugar sectors in order to improve their competitiveness or to diversify out of sugar.
In unlocking the resources, the release said that the European Commission has indicated that the government here has made “remarkable progress and commendable efforts in terms of budget transparency and accountability”.
The Guyana Government will likely now face questions about what it will use the money on. The main sugar union GAWU has in the past queried where the money from the EU had gone in terms of improving the prospects for sugar.
The sugar industry is presently in dire straits and the Guyana Sugar Corporation in January this year announced that cane will no longer be cultivated at the Wales estate. Hundreds of workers there are in limbo over their future prospects.