Photo : Minister Joseph Harmon
In the Guyana media, it is reported that “Guyana and India signed three agreements” (Jan 30), by Ministers Carl Greenidge and Sushma Swaraj respectively but sugar was not included among them. Why? Isn't sugar the reason why Greenidge went to India?
The trip to India by Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge and Minister Rafael Trottman and others was hyped about reforming the sugar industry as announced by President Granger at the India Republic Day celebrations on Jan 26 when the President said he welcomes India’s support on sugar industry reform, renewable energy, etc. The President thanked India for the aid to the sugar industry and the work of the Indian Ambassador to Guyana in facilitating the aid. This was augmented by news that “Greenidge was traveling to India to pursue the offer of help to the sugar industry. The PNC led government took actions to close down the sugar industry to put PPP supporters out of work. Greenidge's and the President’s remarks were in response to Donald Ramotar's claim that the PNC led government did not take up India loans committed to the sugar industry but accepted loans for other projects”. Minister of State Joe Harmon initially denied India ever offered aid to rescue the ailing sugar industry. But he subsequently did a back track announcing “India Offers to help reform the sugar industry” thereby exonerating Ramotar who chided the regime for taking a racist line on accepting aid from India. The government has accepted loans and grants to benefit its supporters but not those that will benefit Indians. This is similar to the PNC position of the 1970s and 1980s.
So whatever happened to this India offer to assist the sugar industry? Why was it not taken up by Greenidge when he visited Delhi earlier this month? Has our government rejected outright the aid offer? Is Ramotar right that the government is not interested in rehabilitating the sugar industry because it is tied the Indian community and the PPP?