As the cash woes of the sugar industry deepen, calls for another bailout to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) have been made by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU).In an interview with Guyana Times on Wednesday, President of GAWU Komal Chand said the fact that GuySuCo is a State-run enterprise; he is in agreement for Government to appropriate additional funds to provide assistance to the struggling company.GAWU President Komal ChandChand suggested that bearing in mind the size and importance of the industry, it should not be allowed to fail.“[The union is] very much supportive of the Government assisting the ailing sugar industry which we all agree is too big to fail. The industry is owned by the State – the Government having all the shares of the industry”“We are calling on the Government to assist the industry as is required from time to time [and] we also wish to remind the public that the industry in the better days [did] make a contribution to the treasury [especially from 1976 to 1996] when $ 60 billion was made available through the sugar levy,” Chand noted.While the GAWU President declined to comment on the impact of the near 30,000 tonnes shortfall in the sugar industry’s most recent crop, he observed that the second crop is on target.“We understand from the Chairman that the second crop will be on target,” the GAWU President noted in reference to the 159,243 tonnes as projected by GuySuCo for the second crop.After a review of the first crop for 2016, the Sugar Corporation announced that it experienced a shortfall of 29.3 per cent with actual production of 56,825 tonnes compared with a budget of 80,270 tonnes. While GuySuCo stated that an audit is underway, it also advised that it is not expected that the final figure would “vary significantly”.The Sugar Corporation attributed the short fall to the El Niño weather conditions which it said “severely dried out the canes” which led to constrained cane growth and reduced sugar content.“The shortfall is bound to have significant financial implications for an already cash-strapped industry. It would therefore necessitate management considering further strategies for re-organisation of the industry with a view of making the Corporation a viable business entity,” a statement from GuySuCo added.Chairman of GuySuCo, Dr Clive Thomas has reportedly opined that the Corporation would need another bailout, as over 60 per cent of its allocations were utilised. According to reports, the Chairman is of the view that the Corporation has no other choice than to appeal for a new bail-outWhile Dr Thomas did not specify exactly how much funds are being sought, Government has not publicly consented to another bail-out for the cash-strapped industry. It was only on Friday last that sugar workers attached to the Wales Estate were set to engage in protest action after GuySuCo was late in issuing salaries. Guyana Times learnt that after workers made these threats, the Sugar Corporation hurriedly procured the funds to issue payments.In January, central government transferred to GuySuCo, some $9 billion to assist in its operations.
Dear Editor,Freddie Kissoon’s inaccuracies in his writings know no bounds. He attacks Indians without justification. In his latest attack on Indian intellectuals, he made several assertions without an iota of evidence. And his poorly written essay is replete with factual errors. One cannot help but laugh at Freddie’s ignorance and lack of scholarly depth in analyzing socio-economic and politico phenomenon.Freddie stated: “Guyana will explode if people like (the dynamic) Ravi Dev and Ryhaan Shah are not confronted (sic)”. He is right – the intensity of their brilliance will cause the society to explode in search of an understanding and workable solution to the serious social problems facing the nation.Indian scholars like Shah, Dev and others are commemorating the centenary of the passing of legislation marking the end of indentureship. Freddie describes them as possessing a belief in ethnic superiority, but he offers no evidence to support this false assertion. It is a figment of Freddie’s imagination, and that is his style of writing – attack without evidence. Dev, Shah, I and other Indian scholars and community leaders believe in absolute equality for all – that is in the literature, and is consistently and repeatedly stated in our prolific writings; which are based on facts, not innuendoes, which characterize Freddie’s writings. We want all ethnic groups to have an equal space.What is wrong with Dev telling Indians to protect their gains (made since indentureship) as a people, especially now that they are under assault by the state? When African leaders tell their supporters to protect their rights, Freddie does not describe them as racial supremacists, because he is fearful of them; but when Indians assert their rights, Freddie attacks these Indians. Burnham, Hoyte, Reid, Green, Hinds, Kwayana, Ogunseye and Eric Phillips told their supporters to protect their gains made since slavery. Granger, at last year’s emancipation observances, told Africans to protect their gains. So what is wrong if Dev and Shah similarly advise Indians?Freddie wrote: “Black leaders did not urge Black Guyanese to do what Dev is instilling in Indians to do”. Which planet has Freddie been living in? How does he explain what happened at Agricola and Buxton on numerous occasions; and in December 1997, January 1998, March 2001, etc at the court house, Regent Street, at the Presidential Secretariat, etc.? How does Freddie describe the ranting of some African leaders against Indians?Freddie is also inaccurate on media ownership. He claims Bharrat Jagdeo is an owner of Guyana Times, but the paper’s masthead or company registrar has no such listing.Freddie dumped his miasmic writings on His Holiness, Swami Aksharananda – holder of one of the highest spiritual titles (lexicography) in Hinduism. Freddie’s lack of knowledge of Hinduism is profound. Freddie described SVN as a “huge Hindu school owned and operated by a Hindu priest, Aksharananda”. Firstly, Aksharananda-ji is not a priest; he is a swami. There is a difference between a priest (pandit, not priest) and a swami (who performs seva and is higher than a pandit in devotion to the lord. Scholars don’t call the Pope a priest. Freddie disrespects Swami because Swami is an intellectual and a scholar, and Freddie is not. Swami has a doctorate, and Freddie does not. SVN is owned by the community, not Swami-ji. Aksharananda-ji administers the school for the community and the board.Freddie claims 96% of the economy is in the hands of Indians; can he please provide the source of that claim? Look at all the big companies in Guyana – few are owned by Indians. The state (PNC) controls 40% of the economy, so that means Indians cannot own 96%. Non-Indians own about a third of the economy, and with the state controlling 40%, it means that less than 25% of the economy is in the hands of Indians.In analyzing the latest US election, Freddie wrote that “Republican Donald Trump won the presidency because of the South”. He is factually incorrect. Trump won the election primarily because of his victories in swing states in the north (far from the south). The south traditionally votes Republican – no gains there for Trump. It was his victories in the north, like in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, that took him over the top (270 electoral votes). Clearly, Freddie does not understand or know American politics. As Guyanese told me in a recent survey I conducted, “Freddie is a duncey and is jealous of the progress of Indians”.Freddie needs to return to school to learn basics on every social science phenomenon.Yours truly,Dr. Vishnu Bisram
Dear Editor,The Honourable Finance Minister, Winston Jordan in a letter to the media on October 9, 2018, took time from his duties to respond to a media house’s editorial of October 7, regarding his stewardship of the economy. The Minister, in his letter, addressed several matters and sought ignominiously to cast blame on others for his Government’s carelessness in managing the affairs of the State. Minister Jordan in his letter, apparently using a basket to fetch water, among other things, referred to the sugar industry.The Minister says “…our Government has provided a bailout for [Guyana Sugar Corporation] GuySuCo – a whopping $37 billion to date”. But what the Finance Minister didn’t say is that the Government, of which he is a leading member, installed the Hanoman-led Interim Management Committee, which collected the billions he referred to, but which oversaw the diminution of the industry. In Minister Jordan’s stint, so far, as Finance Minister, sugar production fell by over 40 per cent; sugar foreign exchange earnings fell by a whopping 38 per cent, and the sugar labour force contracted by some 7000 employees in the period.Interestingly, prior to the Minister taking up the helm of the Finance Ministry and having direct responsibility for our nation’s economic state of affairs, the sugar industry, with smaller allocations, was able to sustain seven estates and 17,000 workers. In the three years prior to Minister Jordan’s leadership as Finance Minister, the sugar industry received from the Treasury aggregately $15.36 billion. In that period, the Corporation was able to approve pay rises for its hard-working workers and it respected workers benefit and conditions. Interestingly, under Minister Jordan’s Government the only increases went to what is deemed “Key Management Personnel” with expenditure to this group of a handful of the industry’s echelon rising by 43 per cent between 2013 and 2016.But while the Minister harps about the State support provided to the industry, which we must add is not unusual globally, he ignores what those sums meant to the wider economy. Employment costs associated at now closed Skeldon, Rose Hall, East Demerara and Wales Estates totalled GY$11.941 billion in 2014, according to the Sugar Commission of Inquiry report. It is estimated that workers, conservatively, utilised about 85 per cent of their earnings on the purchase of goods and services. In other words, directly shopkeepers, market vendors, fisher folk, transportation providers, etc, have lost $10.15 billion. Indirectly, using the income multiplier formula, a further $70 billion has been removed from the economy. This is a massive and substantial hit and one which many, especially in rural Guyana, may not be able to recover from. Looking at the industry as a whole, using the 2014 data, we have estimated that the sugar industry generated GY$118.3 billion in economic activity. Without a doubt, the Government, through tax receipts, was recouping the support it was providing.The Minister then says, unbelievably, the Government has to find “…$5.7 billion severance payment for workers”. But it was the Government in the first place that decided to send the workers home. It, therefore, follows that the Administration has an obligation to meet the workers entitlements which we must reiterate are being paid contrary to our nation’s laws. For the Minister to seemingly complain about the repercussion of a decision he would have had a hand in is simply disbelieving and seems to give even more credence to the editorial.We saw too the Minister, seemingly, lamenting “…the transfer to Central Government of expenditure previously borne by GuySuCo, including D&I and community centres…” This is a most incredulous statement by the Minister. The admission by the Minister nevertheless is revealing and seems to demonstrate that the Government hadn’t fully considered the ramifications of its misguided adventure in the sugar industry. Certainly, had a thorough examination been done, as was suggested, then Minister Jordan and his colleagues would have known about what he is now seemingly decrying.From the Minister’s reflection on sugar, he has served, no doubt, to demonstrate how important the industry was, not only to its workers and their dependents, but to the wider economy. It also glaringly illustrates how nonchalantly the Administration approached the sugar industry in spite of several warnings not to proceed in the direction it ultimately went. So while Minister Jordan is upset by the licks he is getting from several quarters, they are not unjustified and it clearly tells us that given the current trajectory, the future could be one filled with great difficulty and upset.Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral SecretaryGAWU
The Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources raised its concerns over diminishing land and the need for more support to be given to small-scale miners, to the Natural Resources Ministers.Natural Resources Minister Raphael TrotmanAt its regular meeting at Parliament Building, Committee Chairman, Opposition Member of Parliament Odinga Lumumba told Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and Minister within the Ministry, Simona Broomes on Wednesday that “One of the considerations that we have to look at is not only establishing giving them land, but the supportive mechanism to make sure they exist,” Lumumba said.Lumumba contended that the definition of small-scale miners has to be re-evaluated, even as he highlighted the excessive cost of mining in the gold industry. He pointed out that short-term financing and access to equipment are essential if the small-scale miner is to survive.Minister Broomes, acknowledging the struggle of small-scale miners, explained that she has addressed these concerns with Minister Trotman. “I agree it is something that needs to be looked at. I will agree with you that there are categories of miners who really need this support in terms of equipment, financing, and not only access to land,” Broomes told the Committee members.The Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry told Lumumba that the Ministry would welcome working with the committee “to fashion something” to address the situation.Meanwhile, Minister Trotman told the Committee members that the recently re-constituted committee on land reclamation is seeking to address the issue of available land for mining.
Cocaine in deodorantThe Jamaican busted with cocaine concealed in a shipment of deodorant bottles was Monday sentenced to three years in prison.Easton Stapleton, 54, was also fined $1.4 million, the street value of the drugs, when he appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Stapleton was intercepted after he was observed by a Custom Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) officer to be acting suspicious.According to CANU prosecutor Kunyo Thompson, on the day in questioned the defendant entered the Guyana Post Office with the intention of posting a package.He enquired whether the parcel would have to be examined by CANU and upon learning that it must, he left with the package.The officer who noticed his actions, followed and intercepted him in the vicinity of Fogarty’s Store.A search was conducted on the parcel and it was then that a whitish substance was found in the roll-on deodorant balls and paper markers.He was told of the offence, arrested and charged.
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160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Recreation and Parks Department would post no-smoking signs throughout city parks, but there would be some exceptions to the rule. Smoking would still be allowed on city-operated golf courses, and in designated areas at the Autry National Center, the Greek Theatre and the Los Angeles Zoo. Additionally, smoking would be allowed for filming purposes if studios apply for a permit from the Recreation and Parks Film Office. The amended ordinance comes in the wake of a fire that swept through Griffith Park in May, charring about 820 acres – about one-fifth of the park’s acreage – and coming dangerously close to some city landmarks. The Southland is weathering its driest season on record, with only about 3.2 inches of rain in the metro area since July 1, 2006. The Los Angeles City Council tentatively agreed Friday to ban smoking in all city parks as a result of record dry weather conditions this year. The council is expected to give final approval to the ordinance next week. City laws previously prohibited smoking within 25 feet of playgrounds and at city beaches, but the amended ordinance calls for an outright ban on lighting up in all city parks. Scofflaws caught smoking in city parks would be cited for an infraction and required to pay a small fine. A second offense would be considered a misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $1,000, according to the City Attorney’s Office.
Former Manchester City striker scored a brilliant long range strike in Valencia’s Liga clash with Ray Vallecano.With the home team trailing, Negredo struck to the delight of his manager, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville.Check out the goal, here… Alvaro Negredo 1
1 Steven Fletcher Scotland striker Steven Fletcher has joined Marseille on loan until the end of the season, effectively ending his Sunderland career.The 28-year-old’s Black Cats contract ends this summer.“Sunderland AFC have confirmed that striker Steven Fletcher has joined French side Olympique Marseille until the end of the season, when his contract with Sunderland expires,” Sunderland said on their website.“The 28-year-old Scotland international could make his debut for Michel’s side in Tuesday’s Ligue 1 game at Montpellier.”Fletcher joined Sunderland from Wolves in 2012 and scored 23 goals in 108 appearances.
You can listen to West Ham v Arsenal live and exclusive on talkSPORT at 17:30 on Saturday, December 3.As November rolls into December, the injury continues to pile up for Arsene Wenger’s men as they look to keep a title tilt on track.Santi Cazorla was ruled out for three months, while Mathieu Debuchy has been sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring injury.Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud has doubts over his groin and could miss out along with long-term absentees Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck.So who is going to be in the team to face London rivals West Ham? Click the right arrow above to find out our predicted Arsenal XI, in squad number order… 7. Alexis Sanchez (striker) 11 11 11 11 6. Laurent Koscielny (centre-back) – Click the right arrow above to find out our predicted Arsenal XI, in squad number order… 33. Petr Cech (goalkeeper) 29. Granit Xhaka (central midfield) 11 11 11 20. Shkodran Mustafi (centre-back) 18. Nacho Monreal (left-back) 11 14. Theo Walcott (right-wing) 11. Mesut Ozil (attacking midfield) 11 25. Carl Jenkinson (right-back) 11 11 15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left-wing) 34. Francis Coquelin (central midfield)