Members of new GuySuCo Board must be sugar savvy – Granger

first_imgThe search continues to identify persons who would comprise a new Board of Directors for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), and President David Granger has said he wants the new members to be experts, so they could effectively lead the now downsized industry into profitability.“We are selecting a Board of Directors; the members of which would be more knowledgeable in sugar production. There has been a tendency or temptation in the past to put persons who might be socially prominent, but this is a business; this is an international industry; we have to compete with other efficient sugar producers in Mauritius, India, and other places around the world, and we need to have a serious Board and a serious CEO (Chief Executive Officer),” the Head of State said at a press conference on Friday – his first for 2018 and third since coming into office in 2015.Last month, Government announced the appointment of Dr Harold Davis Jr as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GuySuCo; and at the same time, it was highlighted that the long-awaited GuySuCo Board will be installed the following week, but this was never done.Nevertheless, the coalition Administration has faced considerable flak from various stakeholders for its indecisiveness in setting up the new Board, and also with the operation of GuySuCo in general.Last year, Government announced plans to minimise the local sugar industry and divest the Corporation’s assets. To this end, a Special Purpose Unit (SPU), which falls under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), was set up to oversee the divestment plans by way of either selling off or restarting factories with minimal staff to attract investors – both domestic and foreign.The SPU is currently managing the now closed Skeldon, East DemeraraPresident David Granger(Enmore), Rose Hall and Wales estates. However, there have been reports of an apparent tug-a-war within the coalition of recent over the sugar industry, parts of which are now under the control of the SPU for the divestment process. In fact, reports had surfaced about disagreements allegedly between Ministers from the two coalition parties regarding the chairmanship and members of the GuySuCo Board. The last Board expired back in February.However in March, NICIL’s SPU had published a new Board, naming Colvin Heath-London, SPU’s Head, the Chairman while the other members include: Fritz McLean, Komal Singh, Verna Adrian, Vishnu Panday, Annette Arjoon-Martins, Arianne McLean, Roshan Khan (Jr) and George Jervis, with two other names to added to the 11-member body. The ad had detailed that the new Board was approved by Cabinet on February 26, 2018.But Minister of State Joseph Harmon had said the same day that there were some issues with regards to the timing of the publication and that Cabinet was reviewing the matter. Since then, “consultations and considerations” of the new GuySuCo Board has being “ongoing”.In the meantime, Heath-London has confirmed that over the next few months, special emphasis would be placed on transforming GuySuCo’s economic misfortune into a situation wherein a fully self-sufficient, viable and competitive enterprise operates. In order to do this, the NICIL sub-body has secured $30 billion, being sought in the form of a syndicated bond, to support GuySuCo and its remaining estates; that is, Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion.Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about Government’s vision for the industry and the genuineness of its actions thus far, since that very $30 billion could have gone into restructuring the industry while keeping all of the estates open and GuySuCo’s workforce employed and engaged.But the Private Placement Memorandum for GuySuCo’s $30 billion bond has received much criticism from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who said that he was shocked by the contents of the agreement, which now leaves more questions than answers.last_img

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