Minister Robert Persaud in discussion yesterday with,
from left: European Commission High Commissioner
to Guyana Ambassador Geert Heikens; Mr. Nick Jackson – former
Chief Executive Officer of GuySuCo; Mr. Jos Van Campen, EU Beet
Confederation Grower; and Mr. Nikiforos Silevas, EU (Agriculture)
Speaking at the International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, he made it known that Guyana will press for changes in the pact which is subject to review in three years.
“We will have to insist on the removal of the accumulation stipulation that prevents one regional supplier from engaging in value addition in a sister State, for the purpose of exporting the product into the European Union (EU) duty free,” Mr. Hinds indicated.
He said, while ACP States have been urged to develop this type of South/South cooperation, the exclusion of government guarantees on price and member States being the buyers on last resort remain the biggest blow.
“This is evident in the abolition of the intervention price and the position of a price guarantee of 90 per cent of the reference until 2012, in a regime that extends until 2015, with no assured buyer of last resort.
He pointed out, too, that the local sugar industry remains a key challenge in Guyana’s economic restructuring process, to which the sub-sector, the largest in the country, contributes some 15 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for the livelihood of 20 per cent of the population.
Mr. Hinds said Government’s investment in the state-of-the-art Skeldon Sugar Modernisation Project (SSMP) in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), is testament to its commitment to secure a self-sustaining and regenerating, economically viable industry.