Government says no to economic service committee -says time to send Sugar COI report to committee has passed

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 18, 2017

A motion presented by the Parliamentary opposition earlier today, asking for the report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to be sent to the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Economic Services was outvoted by government, with Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder stating that the time for that has been long passed.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Bishop Juan Edghill presented the motion on behalf of Chairman of the Economic Services Irfaan Ali.

However, despite his arguments in support of the call, a rebuttal by Minister Holder concreted government’s decision.

Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder.

According to the Agriculture Minister, the COI report which was laid in National Assembly in December 2015 laid out that while the amalgamation of sugar estates for the purposes of efficiency should continue, it did not recommend the closure of estates at this time. He said this fact was not considered in the arguments put forward by the Opposition’s MP.

He added the inquiry had also recommended that the industry be totally divested within a three-year period. He spoke too of the recommendations coming out of the Task Force which was established back in June 2016.

Minister Holder reminded that all documents relating to the Sugar Corporation, including the GuySuCo COI report and the State Paper are all public records.

“We have shared information. We have held meetings, shared our proposals and have given the opposition time to submit their proposals”, Minister Holder stated.

He also said the recommendation of the COI and the State paper offer many options, “It is the government’s view that the future of sugar is important to the fortunes of Guyana and its people,” continuing that “the good book says, for every time there is a season. But I respectfully submit that the time to send this report to the committee has passed”. He opined that it is a time for the country to move forward.

It was on this ground which he stated that the passage of the motion could not be recommended.

 

By: Alexis Rodney

 

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