GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -- A Guyana union that represents more than 20,000 sugar cane cutters is urging the government to temporarily shut down a $200 million Chinese-built sugar mill.

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union said Friday that the factory should be closed so its mechanical defects can be fixed all at once. Union president Komal Chand says the problems have led to a steady drop in production and warns that 1,400 barge-loads of harvested sugar cane are idle and could spoil if not used in upcoming weeks.

The South American country is the Caribbean's leading sugar producer.

Guyana has withheld millions of dollars in payment to the Beijing-based China National Technical Import & Export Corp. to ensure it meets its obligations.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter

Recommended for you