Confusion continues to surround the fate of the sugar industry.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is currently without a Board two weeks now, while an effort by the Government to restart operations at Enmore and Skeldon is being undermined.
The life of the previous board of GuySuCo expired on February 14. The Government’s investment and asset holding arm, NICIL, under which GuySuCo now falls, has recommended a new board, but that is now stalled at the level of Cabinet.
A Cabinet Sub-Committee on Sugar considered the recommendation of NICIL for the formation of the new board and agreed, but when that decision reached the full Cabinet last Tuesday, no agreement was reached.
Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma, who sat in at Cabinet in the absence of the Minister of Finance, told News Room that Cabinet agreed to defer a decision on the new Board to the next Cabinet meeting.
NICIL recommended a new chairman for the GuySuCo board, namely Colvin Heath-London, the man who is heading the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) which was set up to manage the divestment of GuySuCo.
Communication among GuySuCo Management, the Board and the executive has been chaotic at best and could be at the heart of Government’s decision to defer confirmation of the new board to another Cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile, the SPU is seeking to push ahead with its plans to reopen the Enmore and Skeldon sugar estates to, in the short term, harvest the canes standing so it could be processed for molasses to supply the local rum industry.
But that has been caught in the communication issues. Recently, workers who were rehired at Enmore to do maintenance work on the factory were prevented from doing so by the security, who claimed he was not informed by the GuySuCo management.
That issue has since been resolved, but now, News Room understands that the SPU is being frustrated by outside forces spreading propaganda to workers who the SPU wishes to rehire.
However, the SPU is reassuring all workers who will be hired that they will be paid for all works done. The SPU, in a statement also said it wanted to make clear that the SPU and GuySuCo are aligned in their goal of keeping the estates as a going concern.