The country’s main sugar union, GAWU, has exposed the government’s hypocrisy in dealing with the sugar industry. The union pointed out that the government says Skeldon estate is a “ticking time bomb” yet a potential Indian investor says that the estate can be profitable in a short period.
In a statement on government’s move to sell Sheldon estate, the Union stated:
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has said that news of an Indian firm being interested in the takeover of Skeldon Estate is intriguing, since the factory was described by officials of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) not too long ago as a “ticking time bomb” requiring an astronomical sum to be put right. In a statement, the Union said, “We also found it noteworthy too that the investor advised that in a short period it would make the estate profitable. It begs the obvious question why couldn’t GuySuCo’s management have similar success. In our view, it confirms, the weaknesses of the current Managerial cadre within the Corporation and points to the urgent need for reform at that level. Our Union holds that they are many capable Guyanese who can grasp with the present situation and, we are confident will be motivated by the need to see the viability of the industry, to safeguard and promote the interests of our country and people.”
According to the Union, news on developments are Skeldon were made public via the media, and it pointed out that the plans of the Indian firm – seeking to have control of the co-generation plants and was desirous of setting up of a refinery to tap into the lucrative Caribbean market – mirrors the recommendations of the GuySuCo CoI report.
“Such a direction was also recommended by the Sugar Commission of Inquiry (CoI) and was a part of GuySuCo’s original intentions for Skeldon and is strongly supported by our Union for adoption by the Corporation. We believe such a move will see the industry benefitting from higher revenues which would be in the interest of the industry and the thousands linked to its operations. The situation calls for our active vigilance,” GAWU said.
It maintains that the investor interest demonstrates the value of Skeldon Estate as well as its possibilities. “It has also further reinforced the GAWU’s strongly held view that Skeldon was the right step and that its success will benefit the entire sugar industry. We urge the Administration to consider carefully the ramifications of the decision in this regard and the consequences for our economy and most of all our people,” GAWU said.