It’s that time of the year where we take the opportunity to reflect on the year that was. It’s hard to believe that 2020 is already coming to a close. It’s true what they say “time flies when you’re having fun” and fortunately here at GuySuCo, we are passionate about what we do. We are constantly innovating; finding ways to improve our existing solutions to meet the needs of this nation especially the almost 10,000 families that directly depend on us and the more than 80,000 citizens who depend on the sugar industry directly and indirectly.
This year saw GuySuCo achieve numerous, monumental milestones. They say we would have only produced 78,000 MT of sugar, we produced 89,000 MT. They say we could not re-open the shuttered sugar estates; we are on schedule to re-open the Rose Hall estates by April 2022 with Enmore and Skeldon to follow soon after.
They say we could not move up the value chain, but within weeks of the new administration coming into office, the Enmore Packaging Plant was up and running producing packaged sugar that is being sold for twice the value of raw bulk sugar.
They say we will haemorrhage our best and brightest, but today our doors are being pushed down by the young and talented because they see a future in the sugar belt. GuySuCo has now restarted its management trainee programme and we have three female production shift managers being trained to join the factory teams on the estates.
Let me be clear — there are major challenges ahead for GuySuCo, but be clear Guyana, those challenges will be met. So let me reassure this nation — GuySuCo is back and the sugar industry is open for business. Our focus in the New Year is to stay the course on re-opening the Rose Hall estate first and delivering on our promise to the nation.
Our focus is to bring back the basics to the agronomical practices on the fields of the sugar estates but do it excellently. This year also saw the coming together of the most valuable assets on the sugar belt – its people. Without them, none of this could have happened, and it was pleasing to our mind to return the Long Service Award Ceremony for those dedicated workers who have justly served the industry. The last time we had a Long Service Award was 2014 but we did it in 2020 and it will happen again in 2021.
Although there have been many other significant achievements over the past year; none of this could have been done without the support from His Excellency President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, and his leadership team and especially the Hon. Vice President, Dr. Bharat Jagdeo and Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, who has been working seven days a week for the sugar industry. Their vision and hard work help to break down many doors that were shut on the sugar industry. So on behalf of all in the sugar belt thank you.
We are now just days out from 2021 and myself and the team are excited about everything the coming year has in store but our focus will be on increasing productivity, enhancing personal safety in the industry, and moving up the value chain into more sales in the value-added market. The market will now drive the business rather than production. In 2021 it will be about selling in the better markets at a better price and producing sugar at a better productivity rate.
On behalf of myself and all of the team at GuySuCo, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our workers, our Board of Directors, our business partners, other stakeholders and most importantly, the Guyanese people for their continuous support and we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe and productive 2021.