Why has the rice cereal factory been left abandoned?

Dear Editor,

It has been two years now since the rice cereal factory which was built by contractor Seecharran was left abandoned. No one knows for sure who the owner of this factory at Anna Regina is, and whether it belongs to the Government of Guyana, the municipality or the Regional Democratic Council. The aim of this factory was to buy farmers and millers’ rice to produce breakfast cereal, holiday foods, rice puffs, rice flour, edible oil (from the rice bran) and wine, etc. To date no activity has taken place in this factory and the people of the region are left to wonder if it is a ghost house or a white elephant. This factory has costs the taxpayers and government millions of dollars to build and its primary aim was to employed 200 workers from the region since jobs are scarce to get here.

The building is located at an ideal spot with a lot of space and easy access to raw materials from rice millers and rice farmers who have their own mills. Lorries can take the shipments of the finished product to the wharf and Georgetown. Essequibians and rice farmers were high in praise when this rice cereal factory was constructed; farmers felt that paddy prices would increase and they would be in a better position to earn more money for their produce. But as time has passed and nothing has been done to produce cereal and other products, they have lost hope.

The big question now that they are asking is when this project will come on stream. Is a lack of vision by the Minister of Agriculture the reason that nothing is happening, or is it that Essequibians don’t count, given that a plantain chip factory is being built at Leguan which will bring much needed benefit to the cash crop farmers? At Anna Regina a factory is already on the ground only waiting for the installation of the machines and the packaging facility to start working. If the government doesn’t have the money it can privatize it.

Local businessmen would make better use of the investment, but as it is the rice cereal factory has become waste of scarce resources.

I have seen documentation whereby the Regional Democratic Council and the Anna Regina Town Council are looking to take control of this factory. I do not know if these two entities are looking at it as a money-making venture or to create jobs for the people of the township. If that is so I wonder where they will find the money to buy the equipment and raw materials, and pay wages and salaries for the workers. Whatever the outcome, this factory needs to start working; it has been laid up too long while there is a population of unemployed young people walking on the road every day looking for jobs.

Yours faithfully,

Mohamed Khan

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