Signboards across Guyana used to read (in the old days) "owned and operated by the people of Guyana." That may still be up in some places, but the truth is captured in our headline.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation’s Strategic Blueprint for the years 2009-2013, we believe, is a little late in life of the one of the most important industries for the survival of this country. Not only is it late but the simply incompetent and corrupt people that are expected to implement this plan leave a lot to be desired.
The Plan which was approved by the government was done in one of the most miserable years of the company’s life- it had fallen short of its target production, the price of sugar had fallen on the worlds market and industrial action on the estates had increased by 75%.
The Plan which by its own admission seeks to “create a transformed industry with competitive cost base…” has done but little to achieve its goals for 2009.
A check and balance system was never employed to ascertain if indeed the Company was able to perform in 2009 and more so this Plan was never made public and not even tabled in the National Assembly for all to scrutinize. Only people the Office of the President saw, owned and approved the Blue plan.
Following are some of the targets of the plan. Should we ask the officials were any of these realized?
1) Did the company increase land cultivation from 43,668 hectares to 46,608 hectares?
2) What lands did they plan to increase cultivation on and was those lands even prepared?
3) What about this 20% replanting target per year?
4) Improve the working standards and quality across the industry?
5) What about increasing the rate of mechanization at the Enmore factory by 20% (is that factory even up and running?)
6) Was the management teams on all locations improved or there was the wanton dismissal of officials over a period of time?
7) In 2009, GuySuCo wanted to reduce cost of cultivation per hectare to less than G$490,000 - since it spent more than G$3 billion previously on this activity ( We guess we’ll have to await the 2009 Annual report to be table in Parliament in another 5 years)
8) We know that the Company is in the process of transforming the Health Centres to the Government of Guyana and we have questioned whether or not this is the best move in the interest of the workers.
9) We know of the disposal of non-performing assets and the sale of lands but what we don’t know if the prices and who got them! (HUSH HUSH NICIL)
10) Did the head office of Guysuco relocate to Enmore as suggested in the 2009?
11) The plan suggests the dredging of the Demerara Channel (along with the government) as a mean of lowering freight costs of imports- but this is someone’s dream - 'cause no one could explain why we closing all the East Bank Estates?
12) The Enmore Packing Plant- Construction began
13) Regaining and finding new market niches for direct consumption of sugar (cant produce why search for market?).
14) Sourcing financing for the ethanol plant to be operational after the elections year (well sorry, Jagdeo is presently busy with his $47-million Cable & $15million road-for-Power).
15) What is the update on the Power Purchase Agreement with GPL (for increased co-generation supply from Skeldon) – couldn’t happen in 2009 and will not happen in 2010 because Skeldon Factory still has major defects.
Bitter Sweet – how much more bitter will our sugar be as we continue to examine the GUYSUCO-BLUEPRINT