by Zena Henry
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has been able to avert what seemed to be total shut down of the industry after it reported last week that it had no money to pay junior and senior staffers as at Sunday May 31.
This is according to Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder and Guyana Agriculture Worker’s Union (GAWU) President Komal Chand who noted that GuySuCo was able to access some money in the last few days to pay off staffers.
Minister Holder told Demerara Waves June 1 that while he will be taking his financial request for GuySuCo to Cabinet tomorrow, the company received US$2.7M from unpaid sugar sales which was being held in a bank in the Cayman Islands. He pointed out that this money was owed to GuySuCo, but the companies numerous debts saw the cash being withheld by the bank. The Minister had said in his last interview that GuySuCo was seeking $16B to carry them through the remainder of the year.
He had stated too that the company had cash owed to them and would be seeking ways to access it.
Holder noted however that the US$2.7M is expected to last for another week to aid in the operation of the industry. He said however that, “By that time is up, Cabinet would have addressed the steps to be taken.”
Chand told Demerara Waves that he is pleased that disaster was averted since his information from Chief Executive Officer of the sugar company; Rajendra Singh is that the company had received an some cash and staffers were able to be paid.
He noted that currently factory workers are on the job conducting maintenance work. “Qualified” out-of crop workers were also able to access their entitlements taking into consideration that they would have worked the last three crops with an 80 percent attendance scale.
In the meantime, Chand said that the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union Cooperative Credit Union Society is awaiting word from GuySuCo on workers’ dues which it owes. The company is in arrears of 154M, a representation of credit union dues owed over a six month period.
“We are eager to here from GuySuCo. It is something we are hoping for,” he told the media site. He pointed out that there has been no further discussion on this matter between the union and the company but, “if this goes on we will have to ask our workers not to commence repayment.”
The union President reiterated possibilities of redress if the company does not hand over the workers’ money. He reiterated also that currently the jobs of credit union staffers are in jeopardy.