Sports Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says that Jamaicans should feel privileged to have seen sprint legend Usain Bolt compete.Grange was speaking at the launch of the JN Racers Grand Prix, and hailed Bolt for continually achieving excellence on behalf of the country. She described him as someone who is a superstar but also very humble, adding that he should be respected for succeeding every time he competed.”We have said it many times. He’s extraordinary, he’s wonderful, he’s funny, he’s truly amazing,” Grange said. “But I’m not sure that we quite understand yet what a privilege it is for us to live in the time of Usain Bolt. In a way, he has spoilt us – not only Jamaicans, but he has spoilt the entire world! He represents tremendous talent, hard work and he knows how to have fun.”STATUE THIS SUMMERGrange also reminded the audience that Bolt will be honoured at Statue Park at the National Stadium this summer with an eight-foot statue to be made by local sculptor Basil Watson.”We are on schedule to complete this statue by Independence and to have the mounting coincide with Bolt’s final World Championships in London,” Grange said. “It will be spoken about and studied by athletes for generations to come. I’m determined that Jamaica will do its part in memorialising and celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime athlete, and there are more things to come.”The minister said that although this is only the second staging of the meet, she is expecting it to be a “highly anticipated event”.”(This is) particularly because the country’s greatest athletics son – the world’s greatest athlete, Usain Bolt – will compete for us one last time on home soil. Is that so?” Grange said while jokingly suggesting to Bolt that she wants him to reconsider retirement.- R.P.
Dear Editor,The trial and error approach to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) continues with the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) at the helm; more SPU than NICIL. The Agriculture Minister has now made it pellucid that GuySuCo no longer falls under the Agriculture Ministry but the Finance Ministry. His happiness with this new ‘trial’ is understandable since he and his Ministry have made several ‘trials and errors’ from 2015 to 2018 resulting in the dissipation of $32 billion with nothing to declare except increasing underperformance and drastically dwindling production levels of the entity.More remarkable also is the fact that during this same period Wales, Rose Hall, Enmore and Skeldon Estates were closed and over 5000 workers booted resulting in social and economic chaos in these communities. The ‘sugar experts’ did not do any feasibility study to measure the negative social and economic impact of these closures, although they were repeatedly educated by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union and the Opposition.We are now told by another ‘sugar expert’ that to keep the remaining three estates alive and to bring them to profitability, there is a need to inject $30 billion. I could recall that the People’s Progressive Party in their manifesto had planned to inject $20 billion into GuySuCo to continue its mechanisation process and to bring it back to profitability without any closures or job losses. After getting into power, many negative terms were used by this Government to label and get rid of GuySuCo. More notable are the ones used by the former sugar workers’ ‘champion’, Moses Nagamootoo, who likened GuySuCo to a “black hole” and the sugar workers as “raiders of the Treasury”. The Government through the Finance Ministry now sees GuySuCo as being ‘viable’, a complete about turn from what is said a few months ago.Moreover, the ‘sugar experts’ now need $10-15 billion to reopen the operations at Wales, Rose Hall and Skeldon in a ‘miniaturise’ way so that they can become more lucrative to the 70 odd investors who have expressed interest to purchase the estates as they are, that is, in their current conditions. At this point I want to bring to attention the destructive capabilities of this Government. When these estates were closed, these factories were cannibalised to a large extent and the parts moved to the remaining three estates so the amount of monies required will be to largely replace these cannibalised parts and which I do not for a moment think will be enough the even ‘miniaturised the operations’ at these estates. It will be another $15 billion down the ‘dark hole’ created by this Government.Why the need for a syndicated bond of $30 billion? We are told that this amount will provide capital, support infrastructure maintenance and upgrade at Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt. In addition, funds are expected to go towards developing co-generation capacity for the estates’ operations and sold to the national grid. While this may look good on paper, the reality is far different. According to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI), at that time, GuySuCo has the capability of supplying 17MW of power to the Grid but GPL can only take 15MW. Therefore, with co-generation capacities at Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt will GPL be in a position to effect the transmission?The same CoI had said land sale at Ogle and La Bonne Intention can generate in excess of $57 billion. It stated that Ogle has 26 acres while LBI has 2,282.5 acres which real estate dealers have proposed can be sold at a whopping $25 million per acre. So why go into more debt when you can sell these lands and have enough monies to conduct your ‘experiments’?Another alarming fact is that all the assets of NICIL and GuySuCo have been used as collateral for the syndicated loan and it said the repayment of the loan will come from selling lands, privatisation, co-generation and value-added products, so why not sell the lands mentioned above now rather than later?Lastly, it is time that these ‘trials and errors’ are brought to an end, rather than squandering another $45 billion on the closed and the existing estates, the entire GuySuCo should be fully privatised now!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor,Region Six