Corporate governance at GuySuCo has been ripped apart

Dear Editor,

Corporate Governance was designed to facilitate guardianship of the company’s assets for their real owners.  In the case of GuySuCo, the real owners are the citizens of Guyana, but it is clear that the Granger administration has thrown under the bus the whole concept of effective and efficient corporate governance. Why does an entire Government have to be pandering to the opacities of a small cabal led by Clive Thomas over the welfare of thousands of ordinary people who still depend on the sugar industry for their daily bread?

Continuing to perpetuate this foolishness of running the largest state owned enterprise with an acting CEO and no Board has had adverse consequences. By denying the sugar company a Board, this Granger Government has done the following:

1.  Injected a reduction of clarity in the decision-making role.  Such a situation imports ambiguity into all levels of management and has slowed down decision-making and is causing unnecessary conflict across the organization.

2. Expanded the destruction of adequate process management at all levels across the corporation.  Thus today in GuySuCo there is massive indecision across the corporation and this has led to a lack of urgency when it comes to handling key and critical challenges in the industry.

3. Allowed the alignment of the strategy to disintegrate.  Such a situation sends damaging signals to all stakeholders, which will lead to demotivation, destruction, and dilapidation. But most importantly, it will destabilize the privatization process for Enmore estate to DDL.  I am now expecting DDL to take the government to the cleaners on this privatization process which any wise investor should and will do.

4. Destroyed team dynamics which has trickled down all across the industry leading to not enough creative solutions being unleashed to solve the challenging issues across the sugar belt.

It is unfortunate that the largest public sector corporation and the largest employer in Guyana was allowed to become this dysfunctional in such a short time by the policymakers in the Granger administration.  All they have done was contribute to the stagnation in the arrival of modernization in the sugar belt.  Thus the risk profile across the sugar belt has not reduced with the closure of estates and the severing of some 7,000 persons; it has actually increased.  My conclusion – the problem was not the size of GuySuCo, but the quality of the decision-making process at the highest level.

GuySuCo has now become a cesspit for destroying talent.  No professional in his right mind will want to be part of such a debased decision-making system.  For GuySuCo to ever recover it must build up its reputation to attract the kind of professionals who can provide value, strategic input and build up the company.  With the right leadership GuySuCo could have been an environment that created a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.

I, like many other Guyanese struggle to reconcile the fact that such a powerful institution has been reduced to such a state of powerlessness that it cannot even benefit today from solid strategic counsel because different factions in the Coalition cannot agree on a Board.  Wither the sugar industry because the Granger administration is still yet to learn Corporate Governance 2.0.  This is not about them; this is about the 10,000 workers still in the system.

Yours faithfully,

Sasenarine Singh

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