Sugar sectorExpressing suspicion as to how the Government has used the billions it allocated to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) since taking office in 2015, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is calling for a probe to be launched into how these monies were spent.Articulating the Party’s position on the matter during a Friday morning press conference was PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo. According to Jagdeo, there are discrepancies between the figures quoted by President David Granger in his January 10 speech and Agriculture Minister Noel Holder.Former President Bharrat JagdeoJagdeo quoted verbatim from Granger’s speech, in which the President pointed out that “a new factory at Skeldon in the East Berbice-Corentyne region was built at a cost of US$212 million and $48 billion was expended in financial support to the industry since 2011, while $32 billion was spent over the past 30 months, which when calculated sums up to a rate of about $1 billion a month. This Government cannot sustain the sugar industry in its current state. It has had to make difficult choices in order to ensure the industry’s viability.”The PPP General Secretary noted that the figure quoted in Granger’s speech was divided by the number of months. Jagdeo, an economist by training, observed that this was how the figure of a billion a month was arrived at. According to Jagdeo, however, this does not add up and there is a clear contradiction between the President and his Agriculture Minister.“Holder said over the past seven years, Government pumped $48 billion in GuySuCo. $600 million in 2011; $4 billion in 2012; $5.3 billion in 2013; $6 billion in 2014; $12 billion in 2015; $11 billion in 2016; and $9 billion in 2017,” Jagdeo stated, quoting the Minister. “So when you add this, you see $48 billion over seven years. (But Granger) added $32 billion on top of it in his speech. Then he divided by the number of months and that’s how he came up with $1 billion a month. He over inflated the figures by two times in his speech to the nation. And Holder gave the accurate figures.”Agriculture Minister Noel Holder“Even in those figures, you would see that the period 2011 to 2014, an average of $4 billion a year was given in subsidy to GuySuCo. Between 2015 to 2017, $10.6 billion average. And that is impossible. It’s more than double the subsidy in just three years. We need to have a full-fledged investigation into whether this money was given, how it was spent. And knowing the nature of this Government, I suspect a significant portion of this money may have disappeared. And if they were so good at management, the figure should have deteriorated.”Government had announced that it will pay 50 per cent of the severance benefits to dismissed sugar workers by the end of this month. This commitment represents over $2 billion in severance payments, with a paper seeking to appropriate supplementary funds being laid and debated in the House.It was during this announcement that President Granger in a speech read by the Prime Minister spoke of $48 billion being spent since 2011 on the industry. Jagdeo expressed the belief, however, that the incorrect figures were no mere mistake.“Now when Guyanese hear this figure (from the President), they will say yes it can’t be afforded because it is a large sum of money. So that is what I believe it was designed to do, to say that we can’t afford to keep the sugar industry alive,” he stated.Soon after coming to office, the coalition Government doubled the subsidy to GuySuco to $12 billion. Nine billion dollars was also budgeted for early in the year, with a further $2 billion after the Corporation approached the Government requesting approximately $3.5 billion.A further $9 billion was approved in 2017 for GuySuCo, with Finance Minister Winston Jordan announcing that If Government adhered to the requests for specific monies for GuySuCo, it would be money wasted.In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Boys basketball: Mater Dei vs. Compton at Dominguez High, 7:30 p.m. Tonight’s other I-AA semifinal pits the Monarchs’ Taylor King, a McDonald’s All-American who’s going to Duke, against the Tarbabes’ Demar Derozan, who’s averaging 22 points a game. Girls basketball: Poly vs. Bishop Amat at Damien High, 7 p.m. The Jackrabbits won’t have to face rival Lynwood in the semifinal matchup. But the Lancers are a worthy opponent with 6-foot-3 Candice Brown, one of the top players in the country. Boys soccer: Loyola vs. Wilson at Long Beach City College, 3 p.m. The top-seeded Bruins are just one victory from reaching the Division I final Saturday. Girls soccer: La Habra vs. Mayfair at Bellflower High, 3:15 p.m. The Monsoons, seeded second in Division III, can defend their 2006 co-championship with a triumph. Girls soccer: North Torrance at Valley Christian, 3 p.m. This Division V semifinal will be a homecoming of sorts for Saxons coach Dave Christensen, who coach the Valley Christian boys last year. TODAY Boys basketball: Dominguez vs. Artesia at Gahr High, 7:30 p.m. Two of the best programs in Southern California will square off tonight with the trip to the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA finals on the line.
“I’m not pressured to run him. He doesn’t need to run. He’s fresh and he’s a 3-year-old at the beginning of the year, and it’s a long year.” Also lining up for the Grade II test are Woody Be Quick, M.J. Pkay, Wanna Runner and Sailors Sunset. Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella doesn’t have last year’s Santa Anita Handicap winner Rock Hard Ten (retired late last season), but when the big money is on the line, look for the Altadena-born Mandella to fire some big shots. During his stellar career, “Million Dollar Mandella” has won 13 races worth $1 million or more. He made racing history in 2003 when he won four Breeders’ Cup races on the same afternoon during the Oak Tree meeting. Mandella has entered two horses, Osidy and Unbridled Energy, in today’s co-feature, the $200,000 San Fernando Stakes at 1 1/16 miles for 4-year-olds. He won last year’s race with Minister Eric. Both horses ran in the opening-day Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs, with Unbridled Energy finishing fifth and Osidy sixth. “They were finishing good,” Mandella said. “It looked like they both wanted to go a little further, so we’re going to try it.” The San Fernando is a wide-open race where any of the other seven entrants – Swiss Lad, Canteen, Greeley’s Galaxy, Swing Your Partner, Sort It Out, Distorted and Brecon Beacon – could win with a top performance. Retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron will be honored today at Santa Anita following the fourth race when a bust of his likeness will join those of legendary riders Johnny Longden, Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay in the east paddock gardens. McCarron, and his wife, Judy, now reside in Lexington, Ky., where they have formed the “The North American Racing Academy,” a school for aspiring jockeys that will open later this year. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ARCADIA – If predicted rains douse Arcadia, will the highly anticipated rematch between Stevie Wonderboy and Brother Derek fall part before the 26th running of today’s $150,000 San Rafael Stakes? Doug O’Neill, trainer of Stevie Wonderboy, said his colt is going to run, rain or shine. Dan Hendricks, the trainer of Brother Derek, said maybe. Late last October, Stevie Wonderboy won the $1.4 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Belmont Park in New York and is expected be to honored later this month with an Eclipse Award as the best 2-year-old in 2005. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa AnitaBrother Derek finished a well-beaten fourth to Stevie Wonderboy in the BC Juvenile but returned last month to win the Grade I Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park. So the stage is set for today’s race at one mile over the main track. “The weather won’t be a factor,” O’Neill said. “In our mind he’s ready to run. Is this the end goal? No. We definitely want to win, but the first Saturday in May (the Kentucky Derby) is our long-term target, that’s for sure.” Hendricks views it a bit differently. “The weather could definitely affect us,” he said. “I don’t want to run on an off-track, or a hard, sealed track. There’s no reason to take a chance this early in the year. I might look at the El Camino (Real Derby at Bay Meadows on Jan. 29), or I just might wait until February.