first_img$30B GuySuCo bond– Former minister says cronies lined up to purchaseAs the controversy surrounding the $30 billion Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) bond continues to take centre stage in the debate about the sugar industry, former Minister Anil Nandall has added his voice by saying the next owners of these closed sugar estates would get them debt free.Nandall strongly feels the bond was particularly acquired so as to liquidate the debts of the Corporation, because there is a list of “cronies” who are ready to purchase the estates.“What they are doing is to liquidate the indebtedness of GuySuCo, so that the cronies whom they have put to buy the industry will buy it loan free,” he stated.The former minister said his party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), through Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, has long questioned the reason behind theFormer Attorney General Anil Nandlall$30 billion bond.He said many questions remain unanswered as the Corporation and the Unit seem to be at loggerheads over the spending of the bond and the plans for its repayment.Nandlall recalled that President David Granger had stated that over $32 billion had been spent to service the sugar industry in the last two and a half years since the coalition had taken up office; but he said there is nothing to show for it, because the industry has been significantly downsized and thousands of sugar workers are still owed their severance.“When we (PPP) were in Government, we spent about $4.5 billion per year in subsidies over 2-3 years. We kept all the estates grinding, and not a single person was sent home,” he explained.Jagdeo has said he had managed to raise this issue with the President during a recent meeting, and he had warned the President about the extra burden the nation would have to shoulder in less than two years, all because of a bond whose purpose the authorities seem indecisive about.“Granger is still sleeping, because I told him this in my conversation with him. In the meeting that I had with him, I said, ‘You are going to pay over $2B in a year and a half for not using the money,” Jagdeo said he told the President it is unwise to have the money gaining interest.“We calculated the interest it (the bond) will accumulate in a year and a half, because I am saying that that is how long it might take, even if you move fast to get a long-term project,” he said.Jagdeo said it would take that time to go through the feasibility study: the design, the contracting, the design of a cogeneration plan etc.“I told them that taking all the money at once and sitting on it for a year and a half at 4.75 per ent interest will be over $2.2 billion,” Jagdeo added.But the SPU has responded to the criticisms which seek to suggest that the bond would be wasted, and that it was acquired at an unreasonable rate.According to the SPU, the terms of the bond are five years, since it is expected that the proceeds of the land sale for GuySuCo would be used to repay the facility, and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) wanted to secure the lowest possible interest rate.“It is therefore important to correct several inaccurate statements being made by the former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, regarding the bond,” a statement from the SPU has said.NICIL has said it had released over $2 billion to GuySuCo, but there are strict rules how the monies are to be spent. The money was supposed to buy two co-generation plants, upgrade the three factories — Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt — to produce plantation white sugar, contribute two years of general ongoing operational costs, and expand storage and packaging facilities.The banks that loaned GuySuCo the bond have objected to GuySuCo misusing the funds it received to pay a debt at another bank that did not even participate in the bond deal.last_img