Major works underway to prepare Rose Hall Estate for 2022 opening
As the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) gears up to have the Rosehall Sugar Estate grinding for the second crop in 2022, $900 million has been set aside in the national budget for the rehabilitation of the factory.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sasenarine Singh is adamant that the corporation will achieve the timeline for reopening, stating that management has no reason not to while pointing out that Government has already set aside $9 billion for the industry.
The corporation is expected to spend $900 million on the Rosehall Estate. This money, the CEO noted, will go towards ensuring that Rosehall Estate is in a position to produce sugar.
The Estate was closed in December 2017 by the then APNU/AFC, leaving hundreds of workers on the breadline. At the time, the David Granger-led Government had claimed that GuySuCo was a liability to Guyana since it had been producing sugar at costs higher than it was receiving for the finished product on the world market.
However, Singh, late last week, said that land preparation is currently being done, as cane lands are being cleared and equipment for the project is currently being procured. The CEO said a new fertiliser bond at Rosehall is to be constructed and one of the chemical bonds is to be rehabilitated.
The money for this is part of the $2 billion earmarked in the 2021 National Budget for capital works to be undertaken by GuySuCo to help in the turnaround of the sugar industry. That money, he added, will also be used for the purchase of critical agro-chemicals at Rosehall.
“When we went to Rosehall for the first time in September (2020) what we found was a scrapyard. Have you ever seen Sanford and Sons? It was worse than that. That is what we found at Rosehall,” Singh disclosed to reporters.
Meanwhile, back in 2017, there were 17 functional tractors but according to the CEO, when he took over in September last year, there were three tractor frames.
“Batteries were gone, alternators disappeared, starters were gone, and radiators gone; all sorts of destruction happened. We had to rebuild from scratch and that is what is making this process so difficult.”
According to the CEO, the workers were able to rebuild three tractors with the parts that were left and the three frames. Additionally, over 500 punts at Rosehall are to be fixed but with more than 50 per cent currently being unserviceable, about 200 new punts will have to be built. Moreover, some of the roads in the cultivation area will also have to be rebuilt.
“Which were left to deteriorate beyond belief,” the CEO said while noting that the rehabilitation of those roads will be undertaken by staff of the sugar corporation.
“So, we are spending about $900 million from the sugar bill at Rosehall in areas like the sugar bulk wharf which is a health and safety risk today. Yet we still have to operate it because we need it. These are emergency operations that have to be done this year.” He said the evaporators at the Estate have to be changed.
The entire factory, he added, is in a state of disrepair.
“We have to repair some and we have to change some. If we don’t do these things then we cannot do the process of crystallisation, which means there is no sugar. We met an industry that was destroyed and I want to thank the sugar workers who have kept three of these Estates ticking over and against all odds,” Singh said.
Currently, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government is in the process of restructuring the industry. (G4)