The Guyana Sugar Corporation has quietly moved in the new Chief Executive Officer, current Chairman of the Board of Directors, Raj Singh as the third week of the first crop is about to commence.
GuySuCo has produced approximately 6,000 tonnes of sugar over the past two weeks with all estates grinding with the exception of Skeldon. The late start to the first crop is not a good portent.
Sources say grinding has not been seamless. Enmore commenced the first crop harvest two week ago but has not been operational for the entire two weeks. In fact none of the estates has been consistent to date. The second week of the first crop, which ended on March 1, saw only Albion, Enmore and Wales operational.
Wales estate, the week prior, was already without sufficient cane as was Uitvlugt. GuySuCo officially began the 2014 first crop during the week starting February 16, but with plenty of unexpected interruptions since.
GuySuCo’s late start comes after promises by both the corporation and the agriculture ministry that an early start was to be expected by the second week of January.
Weather has since been blamed for the late start but no reason was given why the promise was made when it had been clear from the inception that inclement weather, low worker turnout and the condition of the fields would make an early start impossible.
While Singh was quietly moved into GuySuCo’s headquarters, located in Ogle, there has been no official release from management or the board nor will anything official be released. This newspaper was told that Singh is already unofficially directing what becomes public knowledge and what is kept under wraps by the state-owned corporation.
In recent months, neither Singh nor the management of GuySuCo has spoken about the low sugar output and other problems.
This publication was told that Singh’s appointment was at the behest of President Donald Ramotar and that GuySuCo’s new CEO would be reporting directly to the President.
This newspaper was also told that the GuySuCo board was all but non-functional with Singh being the key point person between the state-owned corporation and the Office of the President.
The life of the board had received an extension until the end of 2013, however once again the corporation has remained mum on what that means for the board two months into 2014. Critics have questioned Singh’s capabilities and qualification to run GuySuCo since his appointment as Chairman to the board and the ultimate decision to make him CEO in 2014.
Singh takes the helm of GuySuCo coming off of the worst sugar production in 22 years, 186,807 tonnes.
GuySuCo’s current $6.2 billion dollar debt and its 2013-2017 Strategic Plan, that was said to be brain child of Singh himself, are seen as key problems. The 2014 target announced for the corporation is already far below what the 2013-2017 plan had projected
The target of 278,752 tonnes of sugar has been slashed to 216,000 tonnes. Critics say that considering that the Strategic Plan was finalized in July of 2013, it appeared not to have been grounded in reality.