The better sugar option all along was to pay $9B annually from the Consolidated Fund

Dear Editor,

Every time one watches a press conference held by the Granger administration, especially the ones held by Mr Harmon and Mr Jordan, one can easily conclude that they are clueless about what really it really takes to run the affairs of a nation.  If one reflects on the sugar issue as an example, Minister Holder took the decision to shut down four estates over a 12 month period (in his words “to cut the losses”), only to have Minister Jordan reopen two of them weeks later at an even greater cost to the nation?  Is this a joke?

But what is even worse is that the largest portfolio in the form of the Ministry of Agriculture was ripped from the control of Mr Holder and the AFC after they had been promised it under the Cummingsburg Accord, and placed firmly in the PNC corner under Mr Jordan’s control. Whatever the Cummingburg Accord was, it has now been smashed to smithereens and is nothing but a sham. This very act hammered the last nail into the political coffin of the AFC; they are finished politically. Their only option now is to become PNC members en masse, which I am told half of their leaders have already done.  So much for the concept of a third party! The whole idea today is nothing but one big charade.

If one considers the obstacle the Granger regime faces on this sugar issue, it now makes absolute sense that the better option all along was to pay the annual $9 billion transfer from the Consolidated Fund and concomitantly take resolute and firm operational action to reduce the losses incrementally. This could have been achieved by actively eliminating the non-value added cost elements, attacking the rampant corruption in GuySuCo at the managerial levels, consolidate the business where possible (merging Rose Hall and Albion as an example) and moving up the value chain (into ethanol, alcohol, more packaged sugar, agro-energy and possibly refined sugar).

Unfortunately, this course that the Granger regime took will only become more costly as the days go by, and will hurt the taxpayers even more than the original path taken under the PPP.  Now we are hearing that they need a loan of some $30 billion just to keep the residual operation afloat over the next four years.  What a disaster!

When will President Granger spare the Guyanese people the indignity of listening to the confused positions of his competing Ministers and make a final and definite pronouncement for the nation?  After all, he should have some sort of vision for the sugar industry other than what passes for strategy today where his government is responsible for actively destroying the assets in the sugar belt. I suspect if the President speaks decisively on the issue, he will spare the taxpayers the unending financial exposure and liability from this badly managed sugar issue.  Speak up, Mr President, for Guyana’s sake.

Yours faithfully,

Sasenarine Singh

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