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PPP angered at GuySuco’s CEO’s sacking; cagey on credit union cash

Former GuySuco CEO Dr. Rajendra Singh

by Zena Henry

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has condemned the sacking of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chief Executive Officer Rajendra Singh indicating that he has been professional and competent in his execution of duties at the sugar corporation.

This is despite the poor performance of the sugar industry over the years, with the company more recently requiring GUY$16B to prevent the total shut down of operations. The statement also came at a time when union representatives have called on the sugar company to hand over credit union dues which was deducted from workers salaries but never paid over.

Party General Secretary, Clement Rohee was at the time addressing reporters at the Robb Street location Monday June 8 about the “fast and furious witch- hunting” being conducted by the recently voted in A Partnership for National Unity +Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government.

The General Secretary said that the new administration created its propaganda against Dr. Singh and the board by talking about non-performance, “We don’t believe that. We are not running on what they are saying about non-performance. It if was a question of non-performance during our time we would have dealt with it, but as far as we were concerned there was no question of non-performance.”

The statement by Dr. Singh that the company would plummet without the $16B bailout, “is nothing new”, Rohee clarified. “Everybody knew about that even in Parliament the matter was discussed the opposition at that time voted against the bailout of GuySuCo.”  Acknowledging that subventions were supported for the company, Rohee suggested that, “now that the shoe is on the other foot and they are fully acquainted with the details (of the company) and information; we see a total turn around…”

While in government, the PPP’s de facto trade union arm- Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU)- had repeatedly cited poor weather and bad management of GuySuco as major reasons for a steady fall in the production of the sweetener.

On another matter affecting the company, Minister Rohee was extremely reserved in his utterances pertaining to some $154M deducted from sugar workers’ salaries but not paid to GAWU’s credit service arm.

It was put to Rohee that it would have been under his party’s governance that this credit union money would have been deducted and from a group of people where the party sees massive political support. He said initially that if the company continues to complain about cash then the best explanation is that the lack of revenue saw the failure to pay the credit union. It was how ever explained that the GUY$154M would have constitute a separate set of money deducted directly from workers’ pay to go to the credit union but didn’t.

He replied: “You know I am cautious about that, and I don’t want you to quote me by saying that I am cautious in answering because I know how journalist are. I have to be careful how you will spin it because the moment I say that I am concerned, you will say Rohee concerned about non-payment of these due to GuySuCo. That’s the spin off you would give to it.”

“To simply repeat what I said, if there is any concern then that concern has to be directed to the agencies and departments that address or dealing with that matter.” He did not say whether the non-payment effectively halts all loans and other benefits to contributors, while putting the jobs of the credit union staffers at jeopardy. According to union President Komal Chand, this was indeed a concern for the now in opposition PPP.

The party is adamant however that it will not sit idly by and watch the, “…APNU+AFC de facto regime dismiss and humiliate all those hard working professionals who they consider close to the previous administration.”