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No closure of sugar estates- Guysuco COI

The Commission of Inquiry into the cash-strapped Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) has not recommended the closure of any of the sugar estates, but wants studies to be conducted on those at West Demerara where the production costs are high, according to well-placed sources.

“There is no plan to close any of the estates because of the economic importance of sugar,” sources said.

Details are a bit sketchy about recommendations to reduce the cost of production from 40 American cents per pound to the world market price of about 11 cents. But one suggestion is that greater emphasis be placed on improved cultivation, monitoring and supervision of field work to increase sugar output at a lower cost.

Part of the rescue plan for the ailing industry includes diversification into refined sugar and possibly ethanol, according to one of the sources. This, the sources said, would require a public-private partnership.

The Commission is said to have acknowledged that it did not have the expertise to conduct the required studies on the future of the West Demerara estates- Wales and Uitvlugt.

With the European sugar market expected to be further liberalized in 2017, the Commission recommended reduced reliance on Europe and a greater focus on Caribbean and other markets.

Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Vibert Parvattan last week presented the report containing the findings and recommendations to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, George Jervis in the absence of the minister, Noel Holder, who was in Mexico.

The other commissioners are Prof. Clive Thomas (Financial and Economic Analysis), Dr. Harold Davis and Mr. John Piggot (Agronomists), Mr. John Dow and Mr. Joseph Alfred (Factory Operations), Mr. George James (Sugar Processing), Mr. Nowrang Persaud (Industrial Relations), Mr. Claude Housty (Marketing), Mr. Seepaul Narine, GAWU Representative and Mr. Omadatt Chandan who will serve as the Commission’s Secretary.