Cabinet still divided on appointment of GuySuCo Board

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Contrary to what was previously published in the press following a full-page advertisement placed in the daily newspapers by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), a new board for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has not yet been appointed.

The advertisement which appeared in the papers on March 14, named current Head of NICIL’s Special Purposes Unit (SPU), Colvin Heath-London as the Chairman of GuySuCo. The SPU was created to seek investors for the three estates which were closed by the government over the past two years.

However, when questioned on Friday at a press conference, Mr. Heath-London said this is not the case and he was never told of such an appointment until he saw the report in the press.

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan later explained that the list which includes Agricultural Statistician, Research Agronomist and current Diversification Specialist with the SPU, Fitz Mclean; Chief Executive Officer of Gaico Construction Inc., Komal Singh; Financial Analyst at the Ministry of Finance, Verna Adrian; previous GuySuCo Director, Vishnu Panday; President of the National Air Transport Association, Annette Arjoon; Attorney at the SPU’s parent company –NICIL, Arianne McLean; Consultant, Roshan Khan and Director of the Agriculture Sector Development Unit at the Ministry of the Presidency, George Jervis; was proposed by a cabinet sub-committee meeting.

He related that the sub-committee included himself, Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder; State Minister, Joseph Harmon and was chaired by Vice President, Carl Greenidge.

“That sub-committee decided unanimously that the life of the GuySuCo board came to an end, a new board put in place headed by Mr. Heath-London. Mr. Harmon being the Secretary to Cabinet carried out the instruction and issue the Cabinet decision to that effect,” Jordan said.

However, the Minister explained that “all sub-committee decisions have to be carried to the full Cabinet. It is when it went to the full Cabinet that the full Cabinet said ‘no, we need to look at this more closely’.”

The Minister said Cabinet wanted to be sure of the future of GuySuCo and requested more information on the proposed directors.

Asked whether it was the Alliance For Change (AFC) faction of the government which disagreed with the nominees, the Minister said he was overseas when the document was presented to the full Cabinet.

“Decision on the board was deferred and therefore, the decision that was written up by the Secretary [Harmon] was null and void,” he said.

The Finance Minister said it is not the first time that a proposal by a sub-committee was not approved by the full Cabinet of Ministers.

The Minister admitted that this issue should have been clarified earlier but he did not believe it is his place to do so since he is not the Cabinet Secretary –a position manned by Minister Harmon.

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