GuySuCo takes over Skeldon Sugar Factory
By Tusika Martin
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has taken over the Skeldon Sugar Factory following a successful testing period. Kaieteur News was told yesterday that the sugar company assumed control of the new factory at the end of April.
Speaking with Kaieteur News yesterday, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud said that the factory has been producing sugar for the entire crop and electricity for GPL using bagasse.
According to Persaud, the Chinese contractors still maintain a relatively effective presence at the factory working with the local team.
“GuySuCo’s efforts are focused on expanding and accelerating cane cultivation and improving the capacity of the Guyanese team managing the factory and electricity generation activities,” Persaud said.
On March 20 last, President Bharrat Jagdeo had said that he was still skeptical about the full take over of the facility. The Head of State said that while the test runs were going well, he will prefer to ‘wait for a while’ to ensure that the factory is indeed fully functional.
The President’s comment came one day after Site Representative of China National Technology Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC), Andrew Jin, announced that the facility is ready for takeover by GuySuCo as soon as the company feels ‘confident’ enough to accept.
On September 15, last year, Jin told the media that the trial run showed that there were problems between the punt dumper and the conveyor belt, while, at the same time, difficulties have been encountered with the shredder bearings.
Two days after this was announced, Minister Persaud said that Guyana was examining legal options against CNTIC.
The Minister said that fines, which can exceed US$5M, could be imposed under the contract signed between Guyana and the Chinese company.
Despite the handover of the factory, there are three further 72-hour tests that can be carried out by the owner during the next year.
During that period, the contractor is still responsible for defects arising from those tests, despite the fact that the factory would be in commercial use.
The new factory is expected to produce 110,000 tonnes of sugar a year.