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By: Kiana Wilburg“Listen to me; this had to have happened under this Government. We did not leave the Skeldon Sugar Factory in such a dreadful state.”This was the reaction of former President,[url=]Wholesale Jerseys[/url], Donald Ramotar to a recent Kaieteur News article which exposed the alarming conditions at the Skeldon Sugar Estate, which the PPP regime had said it spent US$200M to establish.It was deemed by the former administration to be a “state-of-the-art” facility that would boost the sugar industry. It has consistently failed to live up to these promises.Yesterday, Ramotar told this newspaper that the nation should be troubled by the state of the sugar estate while reiterating that it “could only have happened under the APNU+AFC administration.”“During the time of the PPP, we invested millions of dollars to improve the factory. And that is why when the government had announced that Skeldon performed exceedingly well in its production target last year, we were not surprised. We knew that it was because of our hard work, our investments,[url=]cheap nfl jerseys[/url], and our prudent management.”“So after announcing that the production for the estate increased, they are now saying that the entity is falling to pieces and so they want to divest and diversify? Man, this is nothing but pure wickedness. They are trying to sabotage the estate just so that they can get a chance to close it down. It is as simple as that.”The former Head of State said that since the Government has a fetish for Commissions of Inquiry (CoI), he is therefore calling for one to be launched to ascertain how the factory deteriorated to such extremes under the APNU+AFC regime.Officials at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) have since stated that the US$200M Skeldon Sugar Factory is falling to pieces and it isn’t worth the effort to put it back together. Their conclusion is based on a damning audit conducted on the factory and its operating plants by an international firm. The report on the findings shows how the factory is deteriorating in various areas.Former President, Donald RamotarPresident, David GrangerThe report also provides numerous telling images of the bagasse fired power plant within the factory. This was a main area of concern and focus for the international firm that conducted the technical assessment of the factory.The auditors found that the entire insulation was missing for the plant’s diffuser, thus resulting in major heat loss. The auditors were also left with no choice but to flag the plant’s boiler fuel feeders, noting that they posed serious safety issues.The auditors said, “Frequency converters for bagasse feeder motors were missing and not working due to lack of spares. Further, the conveyer feeder junction box and connection boxes were in a bad condition.”Discovered as well, was the fact that exhaust gas leakages in the boilers occurred due to incorrect furnace pressure. Broiler platforms were also deemed dangerous due to the severe extent of corrosion.The auditors in their investigation of the $200M entity found that oil burners for the boilers were demolished and considered it to be a fire hazard. The auditors are of the firm view that the dreadful condition of the insulators for the boilers was also a health risk for employees there. During their audit, it was found that furnace wall tubes needed replacement and superheat tubes were damaged.The auditors were also alarmed by the fact that the mere lack of spare parts prevented crucial repairs of certain aspects of the factory.Additionally, the auditors found alarming, the level of corrosion to various parts of the factory and the power plant.The auditors stressed that the plant is in a very poor and dangerous condition for the operating personnel. They have since informed GuySuCo officials that major equipment damage and accidents can occur at any time, which will result in severe production loss for the sugar factory and electricity distribution.The auditors said, “Due to the bad condition of the process and auxiliary equipment, it is not feasible to continue repairing most parts of the plant. Furthermore,[url=]Cheap NBA Jerseys China[/url], the plant operating personnel’s current competence is not adequate to operate and maintain the power plant in a safe and reliable state.”They added, “There is even no concept for maintenance planning or spare part management. In this regard, there is a general lack of spares and tools at site concerning all areas e.g. mechanical spares,[url=]nfl jerseys china[/url], electrical spares, normal hand tools, measuring equipment, safety equipment,[url=]Authentic Jerseys Cheap[/url], etc.”Among its litany of troubling findings at the factory, the auditors said that there is no conservation concept in order to maintain the equipment such as steam turbines during shutdown periods.The infrastructural problems plaguing the US$200M Skeldon Sugar Factory have left some viewing it as a ticking time bomb that will detonate soon; unless tough but necessary decisions are taken.Sharing this opinion recently was Chairman of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Dr. Clive Thomas.He said,[url=]Wholesale Jerseys[/url], “Skeldon needs to be divested. We thought it would have been saved or salvaged by a mechanization project and that was not helpful. Then to get the costs down to competitive levels, moves were made to involve private cane farmers in supplying cane to Skeldon.“That, too, did not work. The reality before us is that the factory has lots of faults; it is badly designed and poorly constructed.”The economist added, “The factory is deteriorating. New steel is needed; some of the furnaces don’t work, some of the boilers don’t work… The factory is just not properly built. The cost for the repairs needed is about US$60M ($12B). It is that big of a disaster.”Just recently the sugar sector received $2B in assistance from the national purse. This $2B financial support is to help meet routine expenditure and is in relation to the second crop for the sector. The cost to repair Skeldon alone would be six times that bailout.The amount needed to fix the problems facing Skeldon is also more than the $11B ploughed into the sugar industry for the entire year.“The auditors have said that that serious action has to be taken where Skeldon is concerned. The team, too, suggested that it has to be divested if not, the whole thing will eventually collapse on our hands and we won’t be able to produce any sugar. We have to make a decision. We either divest or watch it collapse.“The PPP just wrecked the sector from top to bottom and we are trying to salvage what we can,” expressed the economist.He continued, “We are trying to find a way out but that is like trying to find a way out of a minefield. That is what the PPP left us with. Everything is in a nerve-wracking state. The sugar industry is a minefield and a crumbling edifice.“But it must be made known that we don’t want to put people on the breadline. The Skeldon factory alone employs 1,789 workers. Hence we are working on finding the best possible solution to turning the factory and the sector around.”

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