The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is very disturbed to learn that GuySuCo has revised downwards its 2018 sugar production target. This information is moreso of concern considering that as yet not one stalk of cane has been harvested for 2018. From the corporation’s First Crop 2018 Weekly Production Incentive memorandum dated January 29, 2018, the GuySuCo, it was stated, was expected to produce 103,002 tonnes sugar this year. It must be noted that Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in his 2018 Budget address announced that the GuySuCo would produce 115,447 tonnes. In effect, in a matter of weeks, and we reiterate without a stalk of cane being harvested, the corporation had already reduced its target by nearly 11 per cent.
This announcement, for us, is not comforting and reminds us of what took place in 2017 when the production target was reduced on several occasions and the industry ultimately produced a little over 137,000 tonnes sugar, the worst production since 1990. The fact that reductions are already taking place causes us naturally to wonder what is really taking place in GuySuCo, especially when a number of executives, experts, advisors, etc, have been taken on in recent times, and who reportedly are still on the job despite four estates being closed.
Clearly, something is not right and those who are charged with leading and managing the corporation have seemingly fallen asleep at the wheel, while thousands of hapless workers are being affected. The industry obviously has lost its way and in this hapless condition has pursued myopic and senseless measures which have brought on suffering to thousands of workers, their dependents and those who earn a living from the industry’s full operations.
Again, we are seeing the early results of an industry that is set on an ill-advised track and clearly headed by stubborn decision- makers who seem to be unable to give the required leadership to the industry at this time. The decision-makers posited that the closure of the estates will return profitability to the company, but from the way it is being managed that “profitability” is nothing but a pipe dream.