The Government of Guyana says it welcomes any meeting or discussion with the Opposition, People’s Progressive Party on the problems facing the Guyana Sugar Corporation and the local sugar industry.
At his post-cabinet press briefing on Friday, State Minister, Joe Harmon, told reporters that the government has always been open to meet the opposition on national issues, including the sugar industry.
He said with the problems that are facing Guysuco, it ought not be used as a political football.
“We welcome any intervention by Dr. Jagdeo and his team to talk to us about this. The matter is in the National Assembly and we can have meetings there at the National Assembly. And outside of the National Assembly, the government always stands ready, willing and able to have a conversation, discussions and consultations with the opposition on this and any other matter of national significance”, Harmon assured.
The State Minister said the future of Guysuco could affect the livelihood of thousands and have an impact on the entire nation and therefore the government would push for a national response.
Earlier this week, the management at Guysuco informed the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union that it would be facing $16 Billion in losses this year and therefore would not be in a position to offer salary increases to the sugar workers. This will be the second consecutive year that salary increases are not being offered to Guysuco workers.
The company was already faced with over $30 Billion in losses for the years 2014 and 2015.
After learning of the company’s position, scores of sugar workers at various estates downed tools and protested on Thursday. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, while admitting that the problems facing the company has more to do with the European Union sugar price cuts, said he believes the workers should still be paid salary increases.
He also admitted that the financial problems facing the sugar industry in Guyana started since during his time in office.