Why didn’t GuySuCo invest in the ethanol plant?

Dear Editor,


I thank Mr Sookram Persaud for his letter, ‘Albion produced ethanol until mid-2015’ (SN, August 9).  We finally got someone to give us some answers to my letter, ‘Why did GuySuCo not pursue the ethanol option?’ (SN, July 20).

If I learned anything in Business School, it is that manufacturing processes as well as consumer demand for products change all the time, so companies have to be nimble, not static, and forever ready to change by adapting to new technology and machinery and diversifying into new products.

When E B John released a picture (published in SN) of GuySuCo officials visiting Brazil in the 1980s to study ethanol production, my interest piqued, and I wanted to know what these officials had recommended. EBJ, instead of giving information, was dismissive of my letter. His response was sufficiently incomprehensible and dense, provoking a response from Tony Vieira who continued to argue the case for the feasibility of ethanol. About that “experimental” ethanol plant at Albion, Mr Vieira had said that GuySuCo didn’t have to reinvent the wheel, Brazil had already done that.

Mr Sookram’s letter raised as many questions as it answered. Why didn’t GuySuCo invest in the Brazilian state-of-the-art ethanol plant? If the cost was too high, at least GuySuCo should say that. We still need a comprehensive report as to the feasibility of ethanol and other byproducts from sugar cane. What is really at stake?

It is more than just saving an industry that directly employs 16,000 workers. It is crucial that Guyana develops a diversified economy; not one overly dependent on petroleum and gold mining. The fluctuating world market prices of gold and petroleum will only create an unstable economy.

Many Guyanese, including myself, believe the sugarcane industry ‒ not sugar industry ‒ can be saved, given good managers and some capital to implement a sound diversification plan.

To Mr E B John: we still need the report from those top officials who visited Brazil to conduct a study on ethanol. What did they recommend?


Yours faithfully,

Mike Persaud

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