Tony Vieira's Comments
22 October 2017


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GuySuCo Second Crop 2011
(Aired 21 November 2011)

    In my commentary GuySuCo 2011 First Crop which was first aired on June 19th 2011, I said quote "In the press release by CEO Bhim on the 29th March 2011 GuySuCo's production at that time according to him was 47,000 tons against an estimated first crop production of 138,793 tons and that he was confident that he will achieve his target. As usual he didn't"! In a marathon first crop of 23 weeks up to week ending 9th June 2011, GuySuCo achieved its weekly target only twice, in week 4 and in week 16. And at the end of the crop they produced not the estimated 138,793 tons but around 105,000 tons i.e. about 75% of what they were supposed to produce. At that time [29th March 2011] GuySuCo's Chairman Bhim told the nation that his annual 2011 projection was to produce 305,000 tons. I observed in my commentary the following; quote "Since the 2010 year produced only 220,000 tons of sugar, Bhim did not elaborate on how he was going to achieve 305,000 tons in 2011" no one, and I mean no one can produce 220,000 one year and 300,000 tons the very next year, I also said this quote "we still have the Skeldon SSMP problem which is still a massive white elephant so expecting more than 260,000 tons this year based on the performance so far whilst not impossible, is not probable" I was right. Since as of the end of October 2011 the second crop only produced 96,931 tons to the end of October, so we have only produced around 200,000 tons for the year so far and the rains are upon us now. It is therefore unreasonable for us to produce 280,000 tons for 2011 and it is looking more like my 240-260 thousand ton estimate as more realistic as usual. Now Mr Bhim is saying that he does not have the skills to operate the Skeldon expansion, after blaming the weather, climate change, the workers, Booker Tate, the other mangers and the holy lord in heaven, they now come clean with the truth GuySuCo, as politicised as it has become, cannot be run by the PPP who have systematically removed every race from management positions in the industry other than Indo Guyanese despite the fact that most of these appointments placed square pegs in round holes including Robert Persaud.   

      With a revised annual production target of sugar for this year given the massive shortfall of 33,869 tons in the first crop 2/3 of which was dropped at Skeldon alone, the corporation revised the annual production to 281,726 tons, this is what I keep complaining about, they tell us that the annual production will be 305,000 tons at the beginning of the year, then they revise it to 281,726 at half year, I have said it before I do not like these estimates which are mutating according to the incompetence of the corporation intended to show less shortfalls in production over time; at the beginning of the year GuySuCo said that they will produce 305,000 tons and that is what they must do, since the industry would have budgeted to spend in capital and routine costs an amount which was going to allow a profit at a production level of 305,000 tons, revising this estimates inevitably means that at the end of the year they would have expended an amount based on and expectation of sales of 305,000 tons of sugar but only achieved 260,000 tons and make a huge loss which is what they have been doing, so its junk economics and lies just the same as the rest of the government. As a citizen of this country I am saying that this is my sugar industry and I want it to be run better.

    In his budget speech our minister of finance told us that this year Skeldon will function at full capacity by the second crop, he was wrong, or he lied! it's still functioning at less than 30%.

   It is now November and there are ships here waiting for sugar to come from the estates since Skeldon which was slated to produce 69,156 tons this year has only up to the end of October produced 22,974 tons for the year so far, this is not just a white elephant anymore this is turning out to be a Guinness word record white elephant for a nation this size. And we are still being told that the Skeldon original estimates for the expansion of factory and fields would be $US180 million nowhere have we been told what the real cost to date has been, since with all of the problems they have experienced it is unreasonable to believe that this project has stayed on track cost wise, it could very well end up costing us as high as 250 million US dollars for a modernisation/expansion project which after nearly 5 years is producing just a little more than the Uitvlught factory today in 2011 when it was supposed to be producing 100,000 tons of sugar, if it produces 33,000 tons this year we would be lucky!

   My latest information is as follows in this second crop Skeldon is still not performing well and is pulling the overall industry's performance down, the Skeldon production up to week ending 30th October was around 23,000 tons. To give an example Albion produced nearly 48,00 tons sugar [T/S] up to then,  Rosehall  [35,280 T/S] and Blairmont [35,400 T/S] also produced more sugar than the alleged state of the art Skeldon white elephant, and the biggest joke of all is that Enmore, Wales and Uitvlught all individually produced  around 19,000 tons each or 85% of what Skeldon has produced for this year to date; so this nightmare at Skeldon is not over, and because of it the industry may start to face real problems. Do you understand what I am saying now ladies and gentlemen? Do you understand the magnitude of the incompetence involved in taking 250 million US from this poor country an amount which is around 31% of the national budget of the nation and producing a mess like this?

    GuySuCo's own documents tell us the story in stark terms and I will quote "The industry infrastructure has been starved of investment in recent years; over 11 billion in the last 5 years i.e. [2002-2006] the original intention of this budget was to address the needs of the factories in terms of long term sustainability in line with the strategic plan, the limited availability of funds in 2007 saw the factory capital investments limited to less than 350 M G$ instead of the requested 1.35 Billion G Dollars. The strategic plan as presented to the board in 2007 and the initial capital budget was based on the assumption that around 5.6 billion G dollars would be made available [to the factories] in 2008. The cash position of the company and the rules governing year end overdrafts / borrowings prevented the board from approving the requirements as submitted [you hear that Mr. Ramoutar? the board made these decisions] management were instructed to bring forward a programme that limited expenditure to 2.43 Billion G dollars. So GuySuCo's newest strategic plan implemented in 2008 is already obsolete! Also we see from this document that the board instructed the management of GuySuCo in 2008 to reduce by 100% essential monetary allocations to keep the factories running properly. Donald better keep ducking since I can put this squarely in his lap as a director [perhaps the most powerful political director] of GuySuCo.

    Ladies and gentlemen we are lucky that these factories are still running because in the same GuySuCo report I read this quote "the consequence of this decision [to limit rehabilitation of the factories] is that plant and equipment reliability will be compromised and consequently the risk of not being able to process crops in the correct time frame will increase" end quote; the reduction of the maintenance of nearly $15 billion G, between 2002 to 2008, it means that this corporation is butchering itself just to keep the mess at Skeldon off the public radar especially in this election year. But this is our sugar industry and since the 2nd crop started GuySuCo has been conspicuously silent on the performance of the crop so far since they are hiding the facts from the public, so that they can get elected to continue the incompetence, corruption, discrimination and the destruction they are inflicting on this nation. Now it is apparently your taxes which is running this corporation since they have allocated several billion to it over the past few years through the budget. But is that really so? I will come to that in a moment.

   In my June commentary I said this; quote "ladies and gentlemen I am saying that whilst I understand the predicament of the corporation it seems to me that this year GuySuCo will attempt to run both crops with a very limited maintenance period for its factories and that is dangerous, criminally so. This is what happens when politics and not good business judgement prevails. It seems that since this is an election year targets have to be met no matter what damage it causes" end quote, so not only was GuySuCo pushing these factories in 2011 they were doing it against the back ground that these factories were running with poor maintenance for over 7 years [2002-2008] and were starved by more than 15 billion Guyana dollars up to 2008!     

    People who are presidents and want to be presidents of countries have to make better decisions than these, this information advises me and I am advising you now, our sugar industry is in dire straits, all of it, not just Skeldon, the crash has not occurred as yet, but sooner than later whoever inherits this Corporation after this election had better be prepared to make some insightful, intelligent and creative decisions as to how we are going to dig ourselves out of this mess which Jagdeo, Persaud, Ramoutar and the rest of the GuySuCo's illiterate board have created for us. 

    I sincerely hope that the EU's 9th and 10th development funds are being used by GuySuCo to help to recapitalise and rehabilitate these factories. I have suspicions that this government being so silent on the matter, has deliberately withheld these funds from the corporation, I suspect that they don't want the workers to know that the corporation is getting this massive infusion of funds from the EU to rehabilitate the industry, I believe that the government is holding this money out of sight so that they could rob the workers by telling them that the industry is not making any money and so they have to accept a 5% raise in pay when in fact the EU has given them a total of 45.4 billion Guyana dollars since 2009 in compensation for the loss of the preferential markets, i.e. they have received a total so far of 165 million Euros or 227 million US which at 200 to 1 is 45.4 billion Guyana dollars! and I am still maintaining that the farmers are entitled to their share of this compensation and it is my firm opinion that this government owes the Guyana cane farmers 2.5 billion Guyana dollars, even those who were forced out of business as a result of the removal of the preferential price, no cane farmer so robbed in this country should vote for them. Neither should the sugar workers, Robert Persaud and Jagdeo have withheld this money from these farmers and from GuySuCo even though they know that the farmers and the Industry are entitled to it. You see ladies and gentlemen these people can call others vultures and carrion crows but based on these facts, I want you to tell me who are the real vultures feeding off the carcass of a dying industry? Ultimately the question is where is this 45 plus billion Guyana dollars which the European Union paid Guyana to offset the loss of the preferential price of sugar? And why have the farmers, the workers or the industry not benefited from it? 

    Finally promising to pay that 8% this close to the elections, is in my opinion a gross violation of the representation of the people's act. And the opposition parties should take it up with GECOM.