Six months after what was described as “negligence” wrecked the Uitvlugt Estate’s number two turbine and sent 64 out of 70 knives flying, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is yet to give official word on what specific actions were taken to rein in those responsible for the costly mishap.
Guyana Times now understands that an Engineering Manager (name provided) has been transferred to a supervisory post in what a source familiar with last’s year investigation deemed a “demotion”.
After this disclosure was made, this newspaper contacted GuySuCo Public
Relations Officer (PRO) Audreyanna Thomas on Wednesday, and she indicated that she could not at the time respond to queries over what specific actions were taken in light of the investigation. She observed that she would be able to provide more information at a later date.
On August 11, 2018, some $18 million worth of sugar cane produce at the Uitvlugt Estate, West Coast Demerara, was left to spoil after the turbine malfunctioned. Though some of the produce was eventually salvaged, correcting the breakdown was essentially at the expense of the taxpayer. The knives, which are made out of carbon steel, weigh 20lbs each.
GuySuCo revealed, later in August 2018, that it launched its investigation by senior management to probe the spoilage and also to understand how the mishap occurred.
Though preliminary investigations unearthed by Guyana Times suggested that management was considering “negligence”, official word was never given to solidify this revelation.
It was reported in the media that workers had started up the number two turbine at about 09:30h when a section called the “governor” was reportedly not maintained properly in the out of crop period. The turbine has 70 knives on the sharp which spins to shred the canes, and on the day of the mishap, when workers had started the machines, it overspun, and the knives flew out several feet away, which had forced several workers to dart for safety and take cover.
Information which this newspaper sourced from the GuySuCo investigation explained that 10 components from the turbine had been destroyed. The Estate Manager, Yudhisthira Mana, had not publically disclosed the full cost to repair the shredder machine, which was reportedly in the millions.
<<Guyana Times>> reported last year that the number two turbine was completely damaged, and it had to be replaced with a turbine from the defunct La Bonne Intention Estate (LBI). The original sharp from the Uitvlugt Estate has also been completely damaged in last year’s mishap. In October 2018, reports surfaced that two mangers were sent on administrative leave to facilitate the probe, but it is yet to be made clear if it was one of those very managers that was supposedly demoted.
The Uitvlugt Estate is the lone Demerara Estate, with Wales and East Demerara having been shuttered in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Special Purposes Unit assumed control of all of the closed estates. Many of the former workers of the Wales Estate, which numbered over 1000, obtained employment at Uitvlugt.