GuySuCo is awaiting the arrival of two Indian engineers who have been hired to help with factory adjustments at the Enmore estate.
GuySuCo Chief Executive Officer Paul Bhim confirmed to Stabroek News that a mechanical engineer and a processing engineer, who will be based at Enmore, were hired to help with some factory adjustments.
He stated that the Enmore factory, which is over 50 years old, has been experiencing some operational challenges and as a result the GuySuCo board decided to hire the foreign help. Bhim confirmed that the engineers were hired from the Integrated Casetech Consultants Ltd (ICC), based in India, but did not divulge further information. He did not elaborate on the capacity in which the two engineers would be brought on.
Meanwhile, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) is concerned that the recent trend of hiring out jobs can be a sign that GuySuCo is not satisfied with the level of qualified Guyanese.
President of GAWU Komal Chand stated that he couldn’t confirm if this was the extent of the situation but noted that it was something to contend with. Chand stated that the Enmore factory is quite old and it was not unusual that the bearings and the rollers would need changing over time and that a mechanical engineer was needed to evaluate the current situation.
He told Stabroek News that the union was not made aware of this decision beforehand.
He said that the union would be interested in these decisions and that it was disappointing that he could not comment further because he was not privy to any additional information. Stabroek News, however, has learned that GuySuCo’s management as well as GAWU may have been kept in the dark in relation to the hiring of the two engineers.
According to one industry insider, the board made the decision to hire two engineers from one of the firms after various consulting firms had visited the various estates.
According to an industry insider, GuySuCo’s board was responsible for the recruiting of the engineers. This newspaper was told that the consulting firm currently has over 55 projects within India and internationally at various sugar factories.
ICC’s parent company Simbhaoli Sugars’ most recent Executive Director, Dr GSC Rao, and current President of Sugar Technologists’ Association of India has previously worked as a consultant in Guyana on behalf of the Indian government. ICC and Simbhaoli are known for their expertise in sugar manufacturing as well as agronomy.
The two engineers that were brought on have critics wondering if a window has been opened for other positions to be filled by foreigners at the state-owned sugar company. GuySuCo has long had issues with the execution of good husbandry practices and both management and GAWU have acknowledged in the past that the fields need attention and care.
GuySuCo’s Skeldon factory has been under the management of a Tate and Lyle official since February of this year.
As it stands GuySuCo has less than two weeks to make its 203,000-tonne target which is unlikely to happen as production to date is approximately 180,000 tonnes.
With 23,000 tonnes to make and an average production of between 4,000 and 6,000 per week under pristine weather conditions and no mechanical failures, it is unlikely GuySuCo will make the target. GuySuCo has not made its sugar targets and even the revised sugar targets since 2004, when sugar production was over 325,000 tonnes with an annual target set at 304,000 tonnes.
Bhim told Stabroek News that GuySuCo will cease operations for the year on December 21, however, both Skeldon and Enmore estates still have cane to harvest.
He said that the production will have to start up again as quickly as possible and GuySuCo was hoping to begin again in the third week of January.