Ramjattan calls out PPP gov’t over “cock and bull propaganda” regarding sugar industry mechanisation

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Member of Parliament in the Opposition, Khemraj Ramjattan, dismissed claims or any suggestions that the APNU+AFC coalition government was not supportive of the mechanisation of the sugar industry, calling any such inferences as the current administration’s “cock and bull propaganda”.

In a statement Tuesday, the former minister bashed the current People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government for its “misinformation and propaganda regarding mechanisation in the sugar industry”.

Ramjattan alleged that prior to the APNU+AFC coalition government taking office in 2015, the International Development Bank (IDB) and the PPP government were working out a loan for the agricultural sector.

He said a portion of that loan, which was approved by the IDB, was for the mechanisation trial of harvesting in the sugar sector. He added that, in the preparation of the 2016 budget, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) had requested that a $400m capital allocation be made available for the mechanisation of the Uitvlugt and Enmore estates.

“These monies were obtained by the government from the IDB for allocation towards this capital purpose. Consequent upon discussions and a revisitation by GuySuCo’s officials on the issue this sum was never requested by GuySuCo from the government although the allocation was there,” Ramjattan said.

“Firstly, the argument was that since these are the wettest estates in the country, mechanisation must be put on hold until further data is accumulated on the wetness of land and on the specifications of the machinery that is to be acquired. And, secondly, GAWU wanted to know how many workers will be displaced by mechanisation,” he said.

Up to the end of 2017, Ramjattan claimed that these questions were not answered by GuySuCo, nor was any request made by GuySuCo, “resulting in the sum being reverted back to the IDB as unspent”.

“It is outrageous that the PPP through Bishop Juan Edghill now comes up with the cock and bull propaganda that the Coalition was not supportive of the mechanisation of the sector. That is what we had wanted and had been calling for rather than the perpetuation of the kind of slave labour in hand cutting,” he said/

The former minister pointed out that half a year through his coalition government’s term in 2015, over $16 billion was given to GuySuCo and  an additional $11 billion was given in current expenditure in 2016.

“Falsehoods in this age of deception is toxic and the combination is very dangerous to our democracy. This is the PPP’s method of controlling the agenda. It is as shameless as it is disgraceful,” Ramjattan concluded.

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