Over the past 5 years Guysuco embarked on a disastrous project at Skeldon which
will cost this nation more than 200 million US dollars. To put this amount in
perspective the annual budget of this country is around 800 million US dollars.
This means GUYSUCO has spent 25% of what this country's total annual budget is
on a white elephant which could very well bankrupt the entire industry since important
factory maintenance is not being done at the other GuySuCo factories because
money is badly needed to finance this disaster. I saw the AFC in the Kaiteur
News of 28th August identifying the problem, but the young AFC
economists, do not appreciate how difficult it is to convert the existing
cambered beds in the industry to flat land for mechanical harvesting, made even
more difficult in a country with as high a rainfall as oursI it was this very
problem which we who have worked in the cane fields of Guyana understand i.e. that
to convert the existing acreage of Skeldon, around 12,000 acres, to flatland
was a tall and probably not attainable target, and to extend the Skeldon
cultivation by another 12,000 acres was going to take at least a decade and was
probably not achievable even then. But to expect that farmers would be able to
finance the planting for mechanical harvesting of an additional 12,000 acres
was impossible. We never expected that this incompetent PPP government taking
on this huge and probably unattainable expansion at a time when the price of
sugar was going down, would compound the problem and buy the lousiest factory
on the planet to make and already difficult task impossible. The AFC's
analysis of the sugar problem tell us that the Demerara estates will be converted
to produce ethanol and that quote "In order to provide the necessary steam and
electricity needed at these factories at Enmore and Wales, new steam and
electricity co-generation plants will be built at both these sites. The field
area comprising a total of 40,000 acres, which would be modified over a period
of 5 years to accommodate mechanical harvesters, would provide for 1,600,000MT
of ripe sugar cane per annum" end quote ladies and gentlemen the AFC promises
to convert 40,000 acres from cambered beds to flatlands in 5 years? I say that
it can't be done. And the yield after pushing all of this top soil into the
drains exposing the unfertile subsoil on the top of the bed in those cane
fields, they expect to get 1.6 million tons of cane from this 40,000 acres
that's 40 tons of cane per acre.All of GuySuCo's experience to date establishes
that after converting cambered bed lands to flatland, a very expensive
operation, the yield is always lower after the conversion and could be as low
as 25 tons an acre. You would have to budget to attain that low yield of 25
tons an acre average of plant to the 4th ratoon to be realistic. So
these bright, and they are bright I do not want to detract from them in that
department, young economists of the AFC do not have the experience to
understand the intricacies of this problem in the sugar industry.
But tonight I want to deal with another matter. We have seen the PPP destroy
the sugar industry; when they came to power it was giving almost 3 billion a
year to the consolidated fund through the sugar levy, today we have to carry it
on our backs since we are subsidizing it to the tune of around 3-6 billion dollars
a year, but the PPP's destruction of the sugar industry dates back a lot
further, but tonight I will not go into the burning of the sugar cane fields,
the 135 and 108 day long strikes not to mention the numerous other strikes too
long to list individually in the 70's and the 80's which crippled the industry
and started its decline at a time when the price of sugar was high; I have been
through that with you and we need not explore it further, enough to say that
the PPP to destabilise the Burnham government contributed to Guyana becoming as
poor as we are today. I met an old field worker of Versailles a few weeks ago
and he told me after we talked awhile that when the PPP was instigating these
strikes and arson in the industry they told the workers that they were
destroying Burnham but what the PPP failed to mention was that in doing so they
were also destroying Guyana as well.
Even though they were at all times being sabotaged by the PPP and I will not
sit here tonight and tell you that it was OK for the PNC to rig elections in
Guyana, but there were other ways to deal with the situation and in the end it
was the diplomatic processes helped by the Carter Centre which resolved the
problem, so destroying the economy of the country was not the answer and the
PPP have to answer to these charges.
Tonight I want to list what was accomplished in the 28 years the PNC held
office and compare it to the PPP's accomplishments over the past 20 years and I
am looking solely at infrastructure tonight. I have divided the list into 4
parts PNC new roads, the PPP's new roads, the PNC improved roads, and the
PPP's improved roads. Now remember that the PPP has spent an alleged 1.7
trillion dollars in this country that's 1,700,000,000,000. A one a seven and eleven
are the new roads and infrastructure which the PNC built and they are in no
Georgetown linden highway.
road from Linden to Lethem.
connecting road from the Lethem road to Madhia.
to Bora Bora
to Bartica road
to Peter's Mine road
Mine to Olive creek road
approaches to the Canji Bridge i.e. main street and Backdam Road, New
to Kwakani road to join the Demerara river mines to the Berbice river mines.
Demerara Harbour Bridge
Lieu clay brick factory road which opened to areas along the road for housing.
a new road to run parallel to Vlissengen road from Lamaha Street to Kitty to
facilitate access to the East Coast highway.
A lot of these roads facilitated access to the interior of Guyana and the
Amerindians especially benefited from all of this as much as anyone else.
Here is the list of new roads and infrastructure which the PPP built during the
past 20 years now remember we are talking about putting roads where there were
no roads before..
railway embankment road to Mahaica. Which merged with the old East coast road
to bypass the multitude of turns which the old road had just before Mahaica.
mile Crabwood creek to Molson creek road.
Here is the list of rehabilitation of existing paved roads where there only
very poorly surfaced roads existed before by the PNC.
entire West Demerara road from Patenta to Parika
one canal road
number two canal road
Rosignol project which upgraded the road from Mahaica to Rosignol from a clay
brick road to an asphalted road.
Couentyne highway again upgrading this road from a clay brick road to an
a new road to run parallel to Vlissengen road on the Ayangana side from Lamaha
street to Kitty
split four lane highway from Kitty to Plesance
east coast highway where there were only two concrete strips before.
Here are the roads and infrastructure which the PPP
Essequibo road from Supernam to Charity
four lane highway from Ruimveldt to Providence
the Timehri road to Georgetown.
the East Coast road from Pleasance to Buxton.
Demerara Harbour Bridge
I sat with a group of old engineers for several
hours to create these lists and I want to thank them for giving me their time.
In addition what these engineers told me was that
the roads built by the PNC have lasted whilst the ones built by the PPP do not
last more than 5-7 years.
Now I am not going to deal with the current collapse
of roads and I list a few new examples of new roads which are failing [I am not
going to deal with poor work of wharves which floated away, or ferry stellings
which collapsed after the first tuck went on it and which we had to rebuild
three times etc., I will leave those to you who are aware of these failed
projects since they happened very recently] wherever you live in this country
just look at some road or bridge built by the PPP and you know what I am
saying. But the sad tale of failure continues and here are some recent glaring
examples which only the engineers know about, the Huags Bosch road which goes
to the new dumpsite and which was completed in February 2011 is already
collapsing into the trench on both sides of the road. This road was supposed to
have been constructed to carry these heavy trucks but it was not.
The Amaila falls road, we paid Motilall 20% of the
15 million US dollars which the contract required to build this road,
incredibly when the Chinese came here to see the site for the dam and saw the
road they pointed out that the road was too narrow and the slope at the sides
of the road which were in some places very high since its hilly terrain, were
too steep and would collapse.
The Mocha Arcadia road. Apparently a road with an
annual constriction period.
There is one major disaster which the public is not
fully aware of and which I want to mention tonight the new CARICOM building as
beautiful as it is when you look at it from outside, it is a dysfunctional
building, it was built to put all of the CARICOM persons who were occupying
several buildings around the city in one place to make it more economical to
run since the Guyana tax payers are footing the bill for it, since the cost of
cleaning, maintaining, security etc at several locations were beginning to add
up. Less than two years later the building had more cleaners that ever before,
and so much wasted space that this building across the road had to be built by
a private individual to accommodate people we were supposed to be accommodated
in the new CARICOM building ; an informed source tells me that we are paying $30,000
US per month or 72 million Guyana dollars a year to rent this building form a
known PPP supporter. All of this is a waste of your taxes, and you have to
take steps to stop it from happening in the future.
Finally ladies and Gentlemen look around you, do
you see 1.7 trillion dollars of development?