President Irfaan Ali has committed to the revitalization of the sugar industry, which had been drastically downsized during the last five years.
The industry was in shambles even before the former administration took it reins. Billions of dollars in subvention each year, with production costs being greater than yields.
Several estates were closed down and thousands of workers placed on the breadline.
But the new government plans to return the industry to profitability.
“The once greatest contributor to our nation’s economy, has been beaten down to its knees, and the workers tossed to a heap of unemployment and misery. We intend to raise up the industry and to help it and its workers resume the once proud place in our economy,” Ali said during his inauguration speech.
He continued: “The sugar industry has virtually been abandoned in the past five years, and the workers have been deserted. No attempt has been made to seek a new path by which aspects of the industry could be salvaged for the production of profitable sugar-based niche products, that would maintain jobs, and by doing so maintain the dignity of labour.”
He said that the assets of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) seem to have been stripped by National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and disposed of in a “criminal manner”.
“It is bad enough that I must draw your attention to the sore in the sugar industry that has been allowed to fester – neglected and forsaken. But, sadly, it is not the only sector of our economy where workers have suffered from poor policies of the previous administration than even more poorly implemented,” he said.