I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got the Combat newspapers in my inbox. For the record, the Combat is printed by the GAWU, the largest workers’ union in Guyana. In the Combat, it is clearly stated that as at the week ending March 25, 2017, GuySuCo produced 20,037 tonnes of sugar from a target of 74,172 (or 27%). I was advised only six weeks was left before the 2017 first crop terminates. As expected Skeldon produced zero tonnes to date because it was prematurely shuttered in this 2017 first crop under the pretext of another lame excuse from Mr Hanoman and Friends. But what this exposed is that there was no proper project planning at that estate in the second crop of 2016. This is shocking because even in the hard days in the 1980s, GuySuCo always prepped its factories and machinery at the end of the previous year’s second crop in preparation for the next first crop. So how come the management of Skeldon did not know they had a problem on the co-generation plant before the first crop started?
I immediately called my contact in GuySuCo to find out the prospect for the next six weeks, and when I thought that GAWU was being pessimistic, the GuySuCo insider dropped an even bigger bombshell on the table. I was advised that the corporation is not expecting to produce more than 45,000 tonnes for the 2017 first crop (60% performance). This will result in an immediate loss to the nation of some US$16 million in real foreign currency inflow.
So how can the Minister tell me and the rest of the public that there is enough foreign currency in the system for the first half of 2017? I can now concur with my dear friend Ramon Gaskin who on a ‘Plain Talk’ programme in March 2017 with Chris Ram said that Guyana will be importing sugar for domestic consumption in under two years’ time. At this rate, his prediction will come true before its due date.