Georgetown, Guyana – (February 17, 2017) The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has failed to submit its proposals to the Government for a decision to be made on the future of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the sugar industry, even though Government had sought to engage them and other stakeholders, with consultations starting since late last year. One of the stakeholder organisations that has been engaged in the process, the Guyana Agricultural and Workers’ Union (GAWU), has submitted its proposal document and this has been adopted by the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE).
Mr. Irfaan Ali, who led the Opposition side in todays meeting said that the party was not prepared to make its recommendations until the Government had presented a socio-economic study and an economic feasibility study. The Government had provided all documents, which were requested by the Unions and Opposition including the Memorandum of Understanding signed between GoInvest and D. Rampersaud and Company Limited (DRCL), GuySuCo’s Business Plan for the period 2017- 2025, Cost of Production for 2010-2025, Head Office component of Cost of Production 2010- 2025, Breakdown of Government Support requirement for years 2017-2025, List of Capital items by year and cost, Projected can yields and tonnes, Projected tillage and replanting by estates, Financial projections and GuySuCo Annual Reports, among others.
It was based on these documents that the Unions were in a position to present their proposals. GAWU did indicate that they were constrained by the lack of a socio-economic study but it did, however, submit its proposal to the Government and Minister Ramjattan assured that the document will be taken to Cabinet for examination and deliberation. The proposal document was ratified by NAACIE.
The final consultation in progress earlier today at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Boardroom
In 2016, Cabinet took the decision at its last sitting of the year, to have the consultations begin at the soonest possible time to ensure that the best interest of all stakeholders will be considered. Minister Ramjattan, in accepting the proposals from GAWU at the final meeting held today, said that Cabinet felt that consultation was the best way to go in the interest of all stakeholders.
“I’m glad that we have the option of alternative from a major stakeholder. I am certain that this will be useful for purposes of the Cabinet now making the decisions as to way forward because that is what was the entire purpose of having a meeting with the stakeholders. From our end, we knew that there were differences from the Trade Unions, the workers and the Opposition and we decided to be consultative. We wanted your version, we understand that your version could not have been perfected without socio-economic study and we understand that,” Minister Ramjattan told the Unions.
He noted that while the Government will ultimately have to make a decision on the way forward for the industry, it wanted to make sure that the requisite stakeholders were consulted so that the best decision in the interest of all involved, could have been taken.
Head of the Guyana Agricultural and Workers’ Union (GAWU), Mr. Komal Chand making a point during the meeting today at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Boardroom.
“Your view is an extremely important view and now that we have gotten it, we will move on from here,” he said.
The Government team was led by Vice President Ramjattan and included Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Noel Holder, Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally, Minister of Business, Mr. Dominic Gaskin, Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman and Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Jaipaul Sharma while the Opposition team was led by Mr. Ali and Mr. Dharamkumar Seeraj.
GAWU and NAACIE were represented by their Heads, Mr. Komal Chand and Mr. Kenneth Joseph, respectively while GuySuCo was represented by its Chief Executive Offficer, Mr. Errol Hanoman and Senior Communications Officer, Ms. Audreyanna Thomas. Representatives from the various sugar estates including Wales, Albion, Skeldon, Enmore and Uitvlugt were also present.