President bloated sugar support sum by $32 billion; Jagdeo fumes
President David Granger bloated the amount of money which was pumped into the sugar industry over the last seven years by $32 billion, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said on Friday, 19 January 2018 at a news conference.
In a statement on January 10, 2018, the President stated that G$48.02 billion in financial support went to the industry since 2011 “and G$32 billion over the past thirty months – a rate of about a billion dollars a month.”
To arrive at that figure of about a billion dollars a month, the President would have had to add up the $48 billion plus the $32 billion he mentioned (hence, $80 billion) and then divide it by the number of months for seven years (84 months).
But as Jagdeo pointed out, that represents an inflation of the actual support to the industry. Indeed, $32 billion was given to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) from the treasury over the past three years. But only $16 billion was given to GuySuCo in the four years before 2015. And so, the entire amount given to GuySuCo over the past seven years would be $48 billion and not $80 billion as the President suggested.
Table: Budgetary Support to GuySuCo from 2011-2017
“They are fudging the numbers,” Jagdeo declared at the press conference. He said the bloated amounts were meant to boost the “blame game” against the opposition PPP for leaving the industry in dire straits.
In fact, Jagdeo said that when one compares the amount the PPP government gave to the industry from 2011-2014, it was half of what the current government decided to give GuySuCo.
“I am going to call for a full-fledged investigation into where this money went,” Jagdeo stated. He said if all that money really went into GuySuCo, then the fate of the industry would have been different now.
The government last year closed four sugar estates, sending home an estimated 4, 000 workers.
It is keeping three estates in operation to produce 147, 000 acres of sugar to feed local and overseas markets.