Don’t let Panday go from GuySuCo
GuySuCo should not let Mr Vishnu Panday go as Skeldon Estate Manager as reported in SN some time ago. Everyone I have interacted with feels that their skills, experience and expertise in the sugar industry should be exploited for the benefit of the industry. In fact, it would be better if Mr. Panday was promoted to some senior level in central management at GuySuCo, perhaps as Deputy CEO with specific responsibilities. He is competent and experienced in so many areas of production that he would fit in at almost any level of the organization’s hierarchical chain.
Sugar or GuySuCo can’t fail. So many jobs depend on it. He contributed significantly to the growth and development of the country and continues to play a leading role. I traveled around sugar estate communities. I notice the suffering of the people and how they were impoverished by the coalition regime. I mourn for the people living in the abandoned sugar estates; they were left to take care of themselves by thousands, with no jobs. I would like to see sugar succeed in Guyana so that depressed communities can be re-established. I am not a sugar expert although I have studied the role of sugar in development in several countries. I may well be the only Guyanese who traveled to produce sugar in Trinidad, Fiji, Mauritius, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Durban and how Indian companies produce sugar at high profit margins in remote parts of Africa. (Guyanese scholar Professor Paulette Pearce wrote an excellent book on sugar control in Bookers / GuySuCo about two decades ago. Paulette and I had the same mentor for our doctoral studies. The book being read by those working in management and ownership of GuySuCo). Production costs in Guyana can be reduced far below costs. It asks the ground managers all the way at field level and empowers workers as their own landfills. If they acquired ownership, these laborers would transform the entire sugar industry. GuySuCo is also wrecked from stealing from all kinds of labor to materials. Guyana’s sugar production costs top in management and capital expenditures with lower spending on lower-level labor that performed slave-like work to actually produce the sugar. Cane does not grow up in an office. A degree does not make one a can grower or a cane specialist.
Too many lives depend on sugar. He can succeed with capable, competent and experienced management like Mr. Panday. I visited Skeldon in November and again earlier this month interacted with sugar workers about his leadership skills. Besides the hundreds currently employed in Skeldon, there are over a thousand more looking for work. Success in Skeldon will lead to their employment. The workers love him and annoy that he is leaving. They are in the dark as to why he left. They say he is an effective leader, a people person, very active, assertive, dependable, competent and confident in himself.
Unfortunately, we are unable to interact with Mr Panday on sugar production on his specialty and short term as well as long term plans for Skeldon. But former colleagues and peers spoke out loud about it. I chatted with former GuySuCo personnel and former board members on Panday’s imminent departure as Skeldon Manager. They all agree that he should not be allowed to go; there is no other replacement.
Mr. Panday is perhaps the most experienced and knowledgeable person about sugar production at GuySuCo right now. He probably had more years in sugar than all the others in management and the board combined. If I am not mistaken, I believe that he served in management before and at a time when sugar was very profitable.
I have not had the opportunity to interact with Panday on challenges in Skeldon or work with the new board and management of GuySuCo or on its economic model to transform Skeldon. But as his staff attests, he has been an effective manager for the five months he has been head of Skeldon although sources tell me his hands are tied at the table and centered. Those who worked with him in management commended his professionalism and skills in the industry. They report that they have an eye for detail, that they are organized, that they have excellent problem-solving skills, motivate and inspire staff, and are outcome-focused. He has the skills and competence to prepare an industry-wide budget. Does not feel threatened by peers and subordinates. It motivates employees and builds trusts and relationships with them.
GuySuCo must retain Panday using its expertise to increase growth, productivity and market expansion, and to generate new products as well as more value-added value-added packaging.
Vishnu Bisram Dr.