The incumbent APNU+AFC Government is embarking on “arrangements” to address the financial crisis faced by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), according to the Ministry of the Presidency, but the details of those arrangements are not known.
GuySuCo’s Chairman, John Dow, dispatched a letter to President David Granger on May 15 in which he stated that the Corporation will not survive into next week without a bailout.
On Wednesday, Director of the Ministry of the Presidency’s Press and Publicity Unit Ariana Gordon told the media that a meeting was held between the Minister of Finance Winston Jordan and Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder in the presence of Mr Granger to address the issue.
She said, “the Minister of Finance has since embarked on some arrangements to resolve the ongoing crisis facing the sector.”
However, when questioned further on what those “arrangements” are, she directed the questions to the Ministers.
Efforts to contact both ministers proved futile. Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Finance Wantia Huburn said a statement will be released shortly.
The News Room then contacted the Public Relations Officer at GuySuCo, Audreyanna Thomas, but she said there has been no response from the Government thus far.
The recently concluded national recount of ballots showed that the Opposition People’s Progressive Party won the March 2 elections by over 15,000 votes.
As such, the party’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo was approached on Wednesday with questions relating to the PPP’s plan to address the issue.
Mr Jagdeo in response did not rule out a bailout for the agency.
In fact, he said, “that will come next week when Irfaan Ali [PPP Presidential Candidate] is formally sworn in.”
Jagdeo said he is unsure of how the current President will address the matter but “that is why we need the declaration early so we can address these issues.
“…you have to deal with it one way or another and…there are several other issues.”
Some 10,000 workers are employed by the country’s three sugar estates.
According to Dow’s letter to President Granger, there is also a backlog of G$2.1 billion owing to creditors.
Dow said GuySuCo has expanded $9.6 billion from a bond secured by the government’s asset holding arm NICIL and the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) it created to manage the divestment of the industry.
But Dow said GuySuCo understands that only $17 billion of the $30 billion bond has been raised thus far and from a recent interaction with NICIL/SPU.
He said that the financial situation is so dire that the two accountants on the board felt obliged to resign.