Minister of State Joseph Harmon told media operatives at a post-cabinet press briefing that the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) which was set up to examine the assets of the four closed estates proposed that the estates be reopened as it made more economic sense.
As Harmon exlpained, “If you wanna sell a car then you won’t take off the alternator, you won’t take off the battery and so on and say look I have a car to sell. It’s better if those things are there and I will say look take it for a spin and come back, so in their view, it makes better sense to have these entities running whilst investors have an opportunity to look at them.”
This sudden realization however vindicates what the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), the Private Sector Bodies and other stakeholders have been telling the government all along.
In fact, the Commission of Inquiry (COI) Report which the government spent millions to conduct recommended that the estates should not be closed.
In the face of all these advice against closing the estates, the government still rushed ahead to shut down four perfectly good estates causing thousands of persons to experience harsh times especially during the festive Christmas season.
Harmon told media operatives that based on the feedback from interested investors, they want to buy the estates not for diversification but to keep sugar going.
“The sense we got from looking at Expressions of Interest (EOI), the companies who want to come here want to keep these estates in sugarcane,” he explained.
Government’s plan was to diversify the sugar industry, since according to the APNU+AFC coalition, sugar is no longer sweet.