We produce biodiesel at IAST on a regular basis

Dear Editor,

I refer to a letter by Dr Anand Daljeet captioned “Our scientific institutions cannot develop without the proper equipment” (07.10.21).

Since the arrival of Dr. Narine in July 2005, I have seen tremendous changes in the fortunes of IAST and the outlook of its staff. We have experienced a refreshing change in management style, a renewal of hope and excitement and enthusiasm. We have also seen significant improvements in staff remuneration and the ratio of technical staff to administrative staff has increased fourfold. We have seen some significant improvements in the physical plant, and some improvements in the equipment base. Dr Narine has also instituted measures to improve our scientific diligence and rigour of our analytical services. He has also lobbied government untiringly for additional funding and the equipment. As Chief Administrative Officer, I can certainly bear witness to the efforts that Dr Narine has mounted to improve the equipment base at the IAST. Just because he has not seen fit to publish these appeals to Government for increased funding, does not mean that they have not been made, as our budgetary submissions since 2005 can prove.

On the specific case of production of Biodiesel, Dr Daljeet has perpetrated a great dishonour on the hardworking and industrious staff of the IAST. I have watched and participated in the project to produce biodiesel in Guyana at the IAST.

I have watched as staff gave up their weekends, and stayed until 4 am on many days as they followed the vision and leadership that Dr Narine brought to this project. Dr Daljeet, who has never visited the IAST during Dr. Narine’s watch and since we began this project, would have done well to do so. For then he would not write in the newspapers that we only produced biodiesel in Canada. Not only do we produce biodiesel here on a regular basis, we supply some 15 vehicles with biodiesel on a continual basis, produced from waste oil collected from the restaurants in Georgetown. Furthermore, we have designed a unique processing plant to produce biodiesel, and have reproduced and expanded this plant for a private investor in Region 1. This commercial plant now produces the entire diesel demand of the Regional Administration in Region 1.

In the early stages of the project, Dr Narine did arrange for the locally produced oils to be tested in Canada. This provided the justification to Government to fund our project to produce biodiesel locally. If the Government is to somehow invest in all equipment for all potential projects in Guyana without such feasibility being done, then I think we would be spending 3 times our GDP on equipment!

For Dr Daljeet’s information, we have a robust and complete quality control process in place at the IAST for the testing of our biodiesel, and just this year, received another $12,000,000 from Government to purchase a dedicated Gas Chromatograph – Mass Spectrometer for biodiesel testing.

IAST has begun the long, arduous road to improvement and state of the art. And Dr. Narine’s leadership has done wonders for the morale, the respect and the stature of our staff. I can tell you, Dr Daljeet, I am proud to work at the IAST. I am delighted that Dr. Narine has returned to help with the resuscitation of this institute.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Colin Outridge,

Chief Administrative Officer,

Institute of Applied Science

and Technology.

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