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Residents Line Up to Purchase Sugar in World’s Fastest Growing Oil Economy

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21st of July, 2022. Guyana, South America. GSA News. Guyana News

Last updated: July 21, 2022 at 19:01 pm

Reminiscent of the dark days of the Burnham dictatorship era, the streets of Guyana are once again seeing Guyanese lining up for foodstuff – this time, only sugar – but it’s still defined as “food shortage.” It is not clear what exactly is causing the shortage of sugar as the CEO of GUYSUCO boasts that GUYSUCO is exceeding its sugar production projections, but sugar shortage has become an all too real thing in Guyana.

The former APNU/AFC government had pushed the agenda of phasing out sugar production in Guyana and replacing it with other products or services, arguing in essence that “sugar is dead.” The former David Granger led administration went as far as closing several sugar estates. Fulfilling its 2020 elections manifesto promise, the PPP/C government spent billions of Guyana dollars reopening the sugar estates which were closed by the APNU/AFC.

A few weeks ago, citizens across the country started a public outcry saying that sugar prices have skyrocketed and that sugar has even become unavailable in some regions of the country. Some residents reported that sugar prices went up as high as GY$500.00 per pound. In some Regions, residents alleged that the shop owners only allowed each person to purchase x amount of sugar, and some shops only allowed persons to purchase sugar if they purchased x amount of other items.

A resident of Region 1 reported to this publication a few days ago that he went to the shop to purchase a bag of sugar and was sold a bag of sugar imported from Belize.

Meanwhile, the government came on air a few days to ago, via the Facebook Page of President Irfaan Ali, to say that “there is no sugar shortage in Guyana.” Countless residents responded that that’s a lie, providing evidence to back up their claims.

Yesterday, 20th of July, 2022, apparently back peddling on the earlier position, President Ali announced that he would intervene and regulate the price and distribution of sugar. He announced that sugar would be available at a number of locations across different regions of Guyana for the standard price of GY$150.00 per pound. That was welcomed news, and many citizens breathed a sigh of relief.

Today, 21st of July, 2022, a resident sent us the photo above showing Guyanese citizens, in the world’s fastest growing oil economy, lining up in the hot sun, using umbrella to shade from the searing heat, to purchase sugar. This photo was taken in Georgetown, at the Guyana Marketing Corporation, but similar incidents are probably happening in other places across the country as well.

While this is only the shortage of one commodity, it is still food shortage, and who knows what’s next? One thing is for sure, this doesn’t reflect well on a country which earned nearly US$700,000.00 in oil revenues over the last two years. It conjures up ironic images of Venezuelans, with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, lining the streets to purchase basic food items. It simply shouldn’t have happened.

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