Contracts inked for critical cane punts for Rose Hall Estate as Gov’t moves forward with planned reopening

NDIA inks contracts for pontoon barge, long reach excavators for Pomeroon River

The government has made clear its intention to move forward with the planned reopening of the Rose Hall Estate and the overall resuscitation of Guyana’s sugar industry.

Today, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) signed four contracts totalling $284,157,050 to supply and deliver various materials for the fabrication of cane punts or barges with David Persaud Investments Ltd and Gafsons Industries Ltd.

Minister Mustapha with other Ministry officials and contractors

Following the closure of the Rose Hall Estate by the previous administration in 2017, approximately 120 of the punts were transferred to the Albion Estate. The remaining punts were not maintained and have deteriorated beyond the point of salvage.

To begin grinding operations in 2022, the Rose Hall Estate will require 450 new cane-punts to reach its daily expected output. GuySuCo routinely budgets to replace aged punts, at a rate of 10% per annum, given that each new punt has an expected useful life expectancy of ten (10) years.

Meanwhile, the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) signed a contract valued at $84,561,100 with VR Construction Inc. to supply a pontoon barge. Additionally, the Authority also signed a contract with Guyana Tractor & Equipment (Guytrac), totalling $60,000,000, to provide two long-reach hydraulic excavators.

GuySuCo CEO (right) while signing the contract with an official from David Persaud Investments Ltd. (center) Another GuySuCo official is also pictured

With the acquisition of these pieces of equipment to be used in the Pomeroon River, Region Two, the NDIA  would be better equipped to execute required drainage works in swampy soil, given the risk of the machines sinking. The NDIA will also use the machines to perform a blocked drainage programme within the Pomeroon area.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said the contracts were essential to advance the government’s efforts to develop Guyana’s agriculture sector.

“Close to $430 million in contracts are being signed for critical works in two critical entities. The NDIA, over the last three months, has been under a lot of strain in terms of getting our country back to normalcy following the onset of the May-June rainy period, which resulted in flooding in many parts of the country. Furthermore, the President would’ve committed to the people of Pomeroon to deliver a pontoon with excavators so that we can constantly desilt the mouth of the river. We know that that area is prone to flooding, especially when we have heavy rainfall or high tides. We are therefore making the necessary investments to mitigate flooding in those areas,” Minister Mustapha said.

Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapa

“As it pertains to GuySuCo, I’ve said many times that the government made a commitment to the people of this country that we will reopen some of the closed sugar estates so that we can create employment and contribute to the country’s GDP and the economy as a whole. Those of you who were awarded contracts for the supply of various materials for GuySuCo must understand that those activities are critical to the timely reopening of that estate. People are looking forward for us to deliver and you will have to play your part. For this year, $22.6 billion was allocated to the agriculture sector. This is a large investment, and I am hoping that at the end of this year, everyone will be satisfied, and we will be able to deliver and complete our work programme for the year,” Minister Mustapha said. The Minister also reminded contractors that the Ministry has no intention of extending contract deadlines and that substandard works will not be accepted.