GuySuCo Board– says consultations ongoingState Minister Joseph Harmon has said that while Cabinet would want to see the Board of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) installed, it wants to have “forward looking” members to head the entity.At the post Cabinet press briefing on Friday last, Harmon disclosed that discussions are still ongoing on the appointment of a new GuySuCo Board.“Cabinet would certainly like to see that Board in place. In fact, it is important for good corporate governance that there is a board in place, but we also have to ensure that we have a Board that is forward looking, or not just some persons who many have had some experience in sugar; it requires more now,” the Minister posited.He said, “In the current environment, you need a mix of persons who have the expertise in that area, but also people who can actually look forward to see whereState Minister Joseph Harmonwe are going to take this industry; a three- estate industry that has a specific target for sugar production, and how best we can achieve that. How best do we adjust to the changing situation in the industry? How do we focus on the other value-added [products] other than just sugar? How do we focus on molasses? How do we focus on other issues that the world market is actually demanding?” he asked.The State Minister further reiterated about other opportunities in sugar cane production. He pointed out that there is need for the local sugar industry to be more cognisant and proactive to take advantage of overseas markets. For instance, he noted that with the region having experienced all of those hurricanes and natural disasters, Guyana is in a unique place to be able to provide and produce these items that were need.Nevertheless, he posited that among the 70 plus Expressions of Interests (EoIs) that have been submitted to Government for GuySuCo’s assets that have been identified for divestment, there were proposals to diversify into much more value-added products.Last year, Government announced plans to minimise the local sugar industry and divest the corporation’s assets. To this end, a Special Purposes Unit (SPU) which falls under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) was set up to oversee the divestment plans by way of either selling off or restarting factories with minimal staff to attract investors, both domestic and foreign.The SPU is currently managing the now closed Skeldon, East Demerara (Enmore), Rose Hall and Wales estates. However, there have been reports of an apparent tug-a-war within the Coalition of recent over the sugar industry, parts of which are now under the control of the SPU for the divestment process. In fact, reports had surfaced about disagreements allegedly between ministers from the two coalition parties regarding the chairmanship and members of the GUYSUCO Board.Back in March, NICIL’s SPU had published the new board, naming Colvin Heath-London Chairman, while the other members were Fitz McLean, Komal Singh, Verna Adrian, Vishnu Panday, Annette Arjoon, Arianne Mc Lean, Roshan Khan (Jr) and George Jervis. Two other names were to be added to the 11-member body.The ad had detailed that the new Board was approved by Cabinet on February 26, 2018.However, Minister Harmon had said the same day that there were some issues regarding the timing of the publication, and Cabinet was reviewing the matter. Since then, “consultations and considerations” of the new GuySuCo Board have being “ongoing”.In the meantime, Heath-London has confirmed that, over the next few months, special emphasis would be placed on transforming GuySuCo’s economic misfortune into a situation wherein a fully self-sufficient, viable and competitive enterprise operates. In order to do this, the NICIL sub-body has secured $30 billion, being sought in the form of a syndicated bond, to support GuySuCo and its remaining estates, that is, Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion.Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about Government’s vision for the industry and the genuineness of its actions thus far, since that very $30 billion could have gone into restructuring the industry while keeping all of the estates open and GuySuCo’s workforce employed and engaged.In fact, the Private Placement Memorandum for GuySuCo’s $30 billion bond has received much criticism from Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo. He recently said he was shocked by the contents of the agreement, which now leave more questions than answers.