Vice Chairman of GUYSUCO, Mr. Anthony Viera, has resigned allegedly because of clashes with the CEO, Sasenarine Singh. The most recent and pronounced disagreement was over the purchase of tractors for the company. Mr. Viera says that he believes that Mr. Singh is not competent enough for the position he holds. This is his story.
Statement from Mr. Anthony Viera
I retired from GuySuCo on June 11th 2022, but the resignation was not made public. Since my departure from the Broadcast Authority in 2016 after a public commission of enquiry led by Joe Singh found that Vic Insanalli and I were innocent of charges of corruption, I have been cautious not to take these matters into the public domain. I am still prepared to work for the President Irfan Ali Government on sugar and aquaculture development.
Since 2006, even though I was a PNC parliamentarian and he was PPP, Dr. Ali and I enjoyed working together and became friends. My policy has always been that we can disagree without being disagreeable. But I will protest if I see any form of corruption which is interfering with the national interest. I never asked President Ali for anything else.
The articulated Game tractor is a very small tractor. New Holland and John Deere do produce articulated tractors, but they are very large horsepower 300-400 HP, because it makes no sense to produce a 190 HP articulated tractor like the Game which actually has a 190 HP John Deere Engine. It is however unfit for ploughing, and so the recommendation of the trial results according to MOA/NDIA, that we can buy this tractor to only harrow, which requires less power, and use the Deere/New Holland tractors to do the donkey work of ploughing, is patently ridiculous.
The trial produced some very revealing results. The Game tractor is 50% more expensive than the John Deere, so the money spent to buy two of these tractors is the same as to obtain 3 John Deere ploughing tractors. In the trial, the John Deer used 50% less fuel to do the same work and there was no significant difference in performance between the two, to make the Game tractor more attractive and without the permission of the board, the management of GuySuCo changed the standing policy of the corporation to remove three cuts of ploughing and harrowing in our land preparation policy, and do only two cuts of harrowing. In a study done independently by one of the Estate Managers [Aaron Dhukia] of the trial, it was shown clearly that the Game articulated tractor was inferior to the Deer tractors in the trial.
The Game tractor is built to pull a trailer. At rest, the tractor places 60% of its weight on the front wheels and 40% on the back wheels, but when the trailer is attached, the weight of the trailer when transferred to the back of the Game tractor produces about 50/50 weight distribution. But when it is pulling the plough, this weight distribution does not become part of the equation and is therefore a liability rather than an asset. This website for the Game tractor will tell what it was made to do: http://www.gameeq.com/equipment/tractors/
The Deere tractor is also direct drive and the Game is a hydrostatic transmission, one of the lies perpetrated by GuySuCo in the trial submitted to the MOA/NDIA engineers was that the Deere can only pull the plough in low gear and 4 wheel drive, and the Deere cannot work in low gear and 4 wheel drive for more than a short period. Actually this is grossly untru; any rice farmer can attest to this. ALL direct drive agricultural tractors work in low gear to all 4 wheels all the time. The operator only shifts up to a higher gear or two wheel drive when it is travelling along the highway since it doesn’t need pulling power, just speed. How can they tell an engineer from MOA/NDIA this nonsense and they report if as a fact, is frightening!!
Also pulling a trailer with Hydrostatic drive instead of direct drive is ok since there is an initial PULL on the tractor when the inertia of the load is applied. But then as the initial pull is overcome, and the trailer starts to move forward, the automatic transmission shifts up to a higher gear. In ploughing this does not happen. The pressure is not overcome when the plough starts to move and the pull is on the tractor all the time, and the Game transmission would stay in the startup gear and could probably be damaged in short order. This is probably why with the same HP Deer engine in tractor in the trial, the Game tractor used 1.5 times the fuel. Such a situation cannot possibly lend itself to the longevity of the Game in land preparation, this is probably why the main problem of the machine which is down is that its hydraulic system is not working..
Another lie, which any rice farmer knows is untrue, is that the Game has a shorter turning circle than a fixed frame tractor. ALL FIXED frame agricultural tractors have left and right side brakes, so those tractors can literally turn on a dime which the articulated tractor cannot do. The game does not carry that feature.
I saw the Public’s comments about my family being knowledgeable cane farmers for a long time etc. Thanks for the vote of confidence guys. Actually, its better than that. In 1952, my father, an Agricultural Engineer, designed and took out a British patent of two Rome harrows mounted on what came to be known as the Vieira Toolbar which was the standard of Guyana tillage practice until the same man Joseph Vieira, then still a Director of GuySuCo, invited Vic Oudit, the then chairman of GuySuCo, to see the wheeled type tractor pulling the now popular 5 disk plough at Houston.
In 1954, as a result of his expertise in mechanical field preparation in sugar cane, my father, Mr. Joseph Vieira, was appointed by Bookers Sugar Estates as Director and Mechanical Coordination of the Industry. I am not a Rice Mill bookkeeper Editor, I am a former sugar Estate manager whose family have been on the cutting edge of land preparation of sugar cane in this country since I was a child. It’s astonishing that these people can seek to carry off such a deception and almost succeed. It also does not reflect well on our national expertise in land preparation that not one “engineer” has sought to repudiate the lies that this matter has given birth to.
From day one in 2020, when I went to the Board, I have been criticizing the fact that GuySuCo, the biggest employer in this country, is hiring too many contractors. It seems that we learned nothing from Bookers. They had their own agencies for EVERYTHING. They were local agents for International Harvester, Priestman, BSA, Land Rover, British Leyland which included Morris and Jaguar. They even had their own ships to transport their sugar. They had their own hardware stores selling not only to themselves but to the public. Far too many projects which used to be done by the estate staff and their engineers in Bookers is being contracted out today, sometimes at very exorbitant prices.
It is my opinion that the purchase of the GAME tractors is not based on anything other than good old crookedness. And since the leopard doesn’t change its spots, I would like to remind the public that In the Guyana Chronicle of March 15, 2011, the following accusations were published by that paper regarding Sasenarine Singh:
“During his employment at the National Milling Company, in order to get my full quota of flour, Mr. Singh demanded from me one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per week. I used to pay this money weekly to him in cash at his home at Third Street, Alexander Village, Georgetown. I was also forced to deliver three (3) bags of flour weekly, free of cost, to his mother who owned a grocery stall at La Penitence Market. I also purchased for him his first motorcar, a white Honda Accord, at a cost of four hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($450,000). I also financed his studies at the University of Guyana.”
Finally this CEO was appointed around September 2020. The production of GuySuCo was 88,000 tonnes in that year. In just two years I am saying that if we achieve half of that amount in 2022, I would be very surprised.