$18M worth of cane spoils at Uitvlugt factory –source

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 …“negligence” considered as probe launched 

Some $18 million worth of sugar cane produce at the Uitvlugt Estate, West Coast Demerara, was left to spoil, a source close to the estate has revealed.

This Online Publication understands that an investigation has been launched by senior management of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) in the spoilage and also to understand just how 64 out of 70 knives were sent flying when the Estate’s cane shredder lost control. A source familiar with the probe told this newspaper in a recent interview that from preliminary investigations, management is considering that it may be “negligence” that was responsible for the damage that wrecked Uitvlugt’s number two turbine on Saturday, August 11, 2018.

“I think someone should answer for that, but we can’t say yet… the investigation will determine if anyone will be sanctioned,” a GuySuCo source told this newspaper.

From images that surfaced last week, well over 300 tonnes of sugar canes in punts were seen waiting to be processed and according to the source, this amounted to $18 million in value. <<<<Inews>>> was told that the sugar canes were in line since two Saturdays ago. It was disclosed that tonnage lost in sugar canes would have yielded 220 tonnes of produced sugar for the second crop.

An official attached to GuySuCo said on Saturday that the losses at Uitvlugt will adversely affect the entity achieving its 2018 target, which was set at 10,780 tonnes. Reports coming out of Uitvlugt state that some of the canes began to smell which suggested that the produce was losing viability. There was a trial on Friday, but this did not yield the desired results and up to Saturday, the cane shredder was still not performing its indented functions. However, it is expected that another trial could commence soon to crush canes.

It is not clear if any of the produce can be saved for sugar production. However, it is understood that the management at Uitvlugt attempted to salvage the situation by opting to produce molasses; a key ingredient in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages.

According to information sourced from the GuySuCo investigation, it was unearthed that 10 components from the turbine were destroyed. The Estate Manager, Yudhisthira Mana, is still to disclose the full cost to repair the shredder machine which is expected to be in the millions.

<<<Inews>>> understands that the number two turbine was completely damaged, and it was replaced with a turbine from the defunct La Bonne Intention Estate (LBI). It was said that the turbine from LBI has to get “a new sharp” because the current one was bent. The sharp is a part of the machine used to set the knives and its issues were only discovered when workers checked it on Monday last. The original sharp from the Uitvlugt Estate was completely damaged in the recent mishap.

It was around 09:30h on August 11, 2018, that workers started up the number two turbine. However, 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. However, on the day of the mishap, when worked started the machines, it overspun, and the knives flew out several feet away, forcing workers to take cover. The workers were shouting praises that no one was injured or killed via the raining knives.

Mana told another section of the media that at the start of the second crop, the knife turbine had not been tested at the time other sections of the factory were tested. These knives, which are made out of carbon steel, weigh 20lbs each. One observer recently called for a probe into the procedures that GuySuCo uses for testing its turbines, trip-speed tests and on-site verification by qualified engineers.

The Uitvlugt Estate is the lone Demerara Estate, with Wales and East Demerara having been shuttered. 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. (Shemuel Fanfair)

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