– to recoup $$$M in losses
By Leonard Gildarie
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has withheld more than $300M (£1M) from and fired its consultant engineer, Booker Tate, over what has been described as “poor implementation and management” of the new Skeldon sugar factory.
A senior GuySuCo official said yesterday, that the Corporation has started examining ways to recoup some of the losses that the US$181M factory would have suffered because of the “inefficient management” of the project.
There were no immediate figures on how much GuySuCo would be looking for, but tonnes of cane, as well as opportunity time for production, amounting to millions of dollars, were lost due to problems encountered in the testing phase of the factory
Over the weekend, GuySuCo’s board reportedly decided to terminate the contract of Booker Tate’s Project Director of the factory, Paul Hough, after becoming dissatisfied with the quality of work on the factory.
Hough’s contract, according to the official, is set to come to an end next month when the Defects Notification Period (Warranty) of the Chinese-funded project expires. However, he has until the end of this week to hand over to the GuySuCo management who will now be working directly with the Chinese contractor to iron out some of major defects.
Hough’s remuneration was said to be US$20,000 monthly. The revelation would have come at a time when GuySuCo is under pressure to cut costs. Two other senior officials, highly paid, were sent home, recently, as the Corporation continues a review of its operations.
Officials said over the weekend almost 200 problems surfaced during the testing period of the state-of-the-art factory, but these were reduced to 11 major defects.
It was disclosed that the contractor, China National Technical Import & Export Corporation (CNTIC) Ltd, would be responsible for remedial actions on the 11 defects and bear costs even thought the defects and liability period would have ended.
According to the senior official, the GuySuCo Board of Directors had set up a special sub-committee to assess the performance of Hough and his employer, Booker Tate.
The sugar workers’ unions were consulted during the process, Kaieteur News learnt yesterday.
Based on the findings of the special committee, the decision was taken by the Board to terminate the services of Booker Tate.
The committee found that there were several instances of negligence in the Skeldon project and especially with the installation of the punt dumper. This caused the corporation to suffer severe losses not catered for in the testing period of the factory.
“The workers at Skeldon, in consultations, are pleased with the decision to end the working relations with the consultant. There are tremendous improvements in our dealings with Chinese contractor to fix all defects,” the GuySuCo official said.
The factory is prepared to meet the March deadline for the next crop and all targets, barring any major upheavals, will be met, the official assured. The Board and its Chairman have been meeting more with management as the pressure mounts over the implementation of the turnaround plan and the water crisis facing the country.
The US$181M Skeldon factory is the single largest investment in this country’s history and also included the establishment of a refinery, expanded cultivation and the co-generation of electricity for the national grid.
The new factory is intended to increase national production to more than 450,000 tonnes. The factory was constructed with a combination of self-generated funds and loans from the Caribbean Development Bank, the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Guyana.
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