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Call intensified to probe low-producing Guysuco

Flash back: The CEO of Guysuco, Raj Singh appearing before a parliamentary select committee that had examined the state of Guysuco.

The smaller union representing workers at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) on Wednesday backed calls by the larger Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) for an inquiry into the operations of the sugar industry after the second lowest production in 24 years.

The union noted that the annual national budgetary subventions are not stopping the hemorrhaging at Guysuco. “The tax payers are being exploited. A national expert, impartial inquiry must be mounted now not so much to cast blame now so obvious but to rescue this vital industry which offers succor to thousands and to the Nation’s life source still,” said the National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) in a statement.

The Parliament approved a GUY$6 billion subsidy in 2014 for the corporation that produced 219,000 tons in that year. 186,500 tons of the sweetener were chrurned out in 2013.

That union attributed the continuous declining fortunes of Guysuco to senseless pre-harvesting of pre-ripened cane which has caused poor quality production and compromised the quality and production potential of the 2015 First Crop.

Also cited by NAACIE is the “fundamentally flawed management, and unprofessional economic decision to reject the Tate and Lyle three year contract in late 2012 for a mere one year agreement, resulting in significant financial loss to the Sugar Corporation for 2013 to 2015 inclusive.

“It is against that litany of poor Board level and management decisions and all their consequential woes for the sector, that the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) throws its unstinting and categorical support for the call for an urgent Commission of Inquiry into the Guyana’s besieged Sugar Industry, as mounted by the major Union in the sector, the Guyana Agricultural and General Worker’ Union (GAWU),” states the smaller union.

NAACIE, which also represents key employees in the sugar industry, charged that “the industry is indeed besieged and under siege by the atrocious decisions by Board and Management.”

NAACIE said it has observed one small but vital detail in recent times- “woefully inadequate expert management monitoring of the husbandry in the fields.” “The results are poor plant nurturing, poor roads, poor punts maintenance all resulting to poor quality product.”

Questioning the wisdom of the politicians repeatedly saying that “sugar is too big to fail,” the union observed that the Guysuco Board never seems to enquire into its own stewardship of the industry. “This is apparent from the repetitive policy and management blunders yearly. The sectors, employees, suppliers and our general population then feel the economic squeeze.”