Friday, January 10, 2003


T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                   L A T I N   A M E R I C A

           Friday, January 10, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 7

CARONI LTD: Board Worried Over Union Threats To Disrupt Crop
The Board of state sugar companies is concerned about the "pace
and timing of the transformation" of Caroni as the All Trinidad
Sugar and General Workers Trade Union threatens to disrupt sugar
production this year, said Caroni chairman Dr Kusha Haracksingh.

A report by the Trinidad Guardian reveals that the union has been
asking for the resolution of issues concerning the NIS and
pension benefits. But Agriculture Minister John said the Cabinet
is not likely to approve an increase in the US$637 million the
government had allotted for the VESP, the workers' pension plan.

Rahael explained that some areas of the restructuring plan are
not negotiable, disregarding the threats issued by union
president general Rudy Indarsingh. Earlier reports indicated that
Mr. Indarsingh complained about the unions on matters concerning
plans made for the Company.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning countered Indarsingh's statement
saying, the unions involved will be consulted once the voluntary
separation plan is finalized and approved by the Cabinet.

CONTACT:  All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers' Trade Union
          Rienzi Complex
          Exchange Village
          Southern Main Road, Couva.
          President: Mr. Boysie Moore-Jones
          General Secretary: Mr. Rudranath Indarsingh
          Tel. 868-636-2354
          Fax. 868-636-3372

CARONI LTD: Government May Provide Over $1B Subsidies This Year
Trinidad and Tobago state sugar company may get more than US$1
billion this year from the government. A report by the Trinidad
Guardian reveals that the government would offer an individual
enhanced VESP totaling US$637 million to 9,000 Caroni workers.
The government would make the offer on February 15, the report

Aside from that the country's Agriculture Minister John Rahael
said Caroni may receive US$400 million in subsidies from the
government this year. That, combined with the VESP, adds up to
more than US$1 billion dollars.

However, this would not be the case next year as Rahael predicts
the subsidy next year to be US$200 million at most, with less and
less assistance for the years thereafter.

"In 2004, I would assure you that the subvention that we have
been giving Caroni would be drastically cut. I am hoping that
within two to three years, if there is any subvention to Caroni
it would tens of millions and not hundreds of millions," he said.

Rahael statements were made after meeting with the Caroni Board
and the Divestment Secretariat on Tuesday.

CONTACT:  Caroni Limited
          Old Southern Main Road, Caroni,
          Trinidad & Tobago
          Phone: (868) 663-1781 or 662-0879
          Fax: (868) 663-1404

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