Guyanese government officials giving birth abroad to set up their child with a head start and be parasites to Guyana, and the host countries like America, Britain, Canada and else where, as Guyanese we have to ask ourselves, why would the Executive President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo allow his niece, who is also the wife of Robert Persaud, a senior sitting Minister in the Guyana Government purposely fly to the United States of America to have their kids, not once but twice.
Robert Persaud wants Guyana Geology and Mines Commission to buy an elephant for his anchor babies to play with
Robert Persaud’s Ministry has no authority to spend money
FEBRUARY 22, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
…still to be gazetted-Greenidge
While there are those that laud the creation of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,
there are those that criticize the expansion of Government.
Others question the legality of the operations of this new entity.
Former Finance Minister in the People’s National Congress Government, Carl Greenidge, said that he is yet to see the new Ministry officially gazetted.
Greenidge believes that all of the monies being spent by the new Ministry can be considered illegal.
According to Greenidge, what is even more reprehensible is the fact that the Minister is even instructing entities outside of his purview to undertake expenditure.
Greenidge was referring to a request by Persaud to have the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) expend monies from its revenues to purchase an elephant for the Zoological Park.
Greenidge said that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) is proposing to request of the Government (and we are at one with the Alliance For Change on this) to have all of the agencies such as the GGMC which are semi-autonomous in nature and manage their own revenue to be brought under the purview of the Consolidated Fund.
He explained that these agencies are supposed to manage revenue in trust for the state but given the manner in which the entities have been operating Greenidge is pushing for them to be brought back under the purview of the Consolidated Fund.
“We have seen that these things have been extensively abused….It is not only a NICIL (National Industrial and Commercial Investment Ltd) problem or a rogue official.”
Greenidge said the fact that the Minister happens to be assigned two different Ministries does not give him the power to simply take money from one operating entity and use it for another, let alone instructing the entity itself to be making purchases that do not fall
within his competence and for which the articles of association and the article establishing the entity stipulates.
Greenidge did warn that it is the board of the GGMC which is ultimately responsible “so if the board is foolish enough to respond to an illegal demand by the Minister they will be held accountable.”
“So what you see taking place in NICIL in the past is not peculiar to NICIL, it is a phenomenon of the PPP operation under the presidency especially under (Bharrat) Jagdeo.”
He explained that one worry that the opposition has as it relates to public pronouncements is the fact that “between Messrs Persaud and (Dr Leslie) Ramsammy, for example, you hear a number of public pronouncements which clearly are inconsistent with the law and the regulations.”
Greenidge reminded that, “I have not seen the new Ministry gazetted and without that happening no monies should be spent by anybody purporting to run or have oversight over these Ministries.”
The former Finance Minister said that the issue at heart is but a part of the problem plaguing Guyana. “What is the President doing just allowing Ministers to run riot irrespective of the law? So there is in all the points of tension that have arisen in recent times between the opposition and the government, the question of legality.”
Greenidge said that regardless of whatever positive statements are being made by President Donald Ramotar, “his ministers don’t seem to recognize that we are under a new dispensation and under the new dispensation granted by the electorate we have a mandate to bring the activities of the executive as the legislature properly under the law.”
The agencies that fall under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment includes: the Guyana Forestry Commission, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Gold Board, the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Guyana Wildlife, the National Parks Commission and the Protected Areas Commission.
was this the payoff for Ralph Ramkarran to step aside to pave the way for Donald Ramotar(was also on the GuySuCo Board of Directors)? This is a wake up call for all those who thought Ramkarran was a stand up guy.
GuySuCo reneges on commitment to divulge fees paid to US lawyers
…conservative estimate pegs figure at $350M
One day after committing to provide this publication with the amount of money paid to overseas lawyers for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Chief Executive Officer, Paul Bhim, has reneged.
Bhim on Tuesday told this publication that he would yesterday provide the amount of money paid but when contacted yesterday he was mum save only to say, “Let’s just say a fair amount.”
When pressed further, Bhim reiterated that he would only say that the amount paid to the overseas lawyers in the court case against Bedesse Imports Ltd is a “fair amount”, adding that he could divulge no more information.
In pointing out his hesitation to say anything further in relation to fees paid by the sugar entity, Bhim drew reference to an article that this publication carried in its Wednesday edition.
In that article it quoted Ralph Ramkarran, who is with the law firm Cameron and Shepherd that was hired to defend the matter, as saying that the fees paid to the overseas lawyers was a private matter.
Conservative estimates of the amount paid thus far for the lawyers in the court battle which is over two years old is some $350M. Confronted with this figure Bhim would only say, “I can only say it’s a fair amount.”
Ramkarran told media operatives during a press briefing at Freedom House on Tuesday that as attorney for the clients, which includes GuySuCo, he would need their permission to speak.
“As far as the fees for lawyers, that is an absurd question, that is people’s private business….it is GuySuCo’s private business.”
Ramkarran suggested that maybe a question should be formulated and posed in the National Assembly.
A spokesman in the local law firm of Cameron and Shepherd had told this publication that United States law firms do not operate like those in Guyana. Lawyers charge by the hour. The spokesman said that top lawyers charge US$1,500 per hour.
Foley Hoag and Company lawyers charge slightly less. Investigations have revealed that the lawyers on the GuySuCo case are charging about US$1,000 per hour. Two lawyers are working on the matter.
In the end, the cost could be very high but according to the spokesperson, this money could be recovered when the sugar company demands costs from Bedessee.
The issue began when GuySuCo decided to challenge a United States-based Guyanese man, Vernon Bedessee, over the use of the label Demerara Gold on sugar packages.
GuySuCo was already marketing a product, Demerara Gold, on the European market but the company discovered that Bedessee was marketing a product of the same name but instead of sugar made in Demerara, the product marketed by Bedessee was from Mauritius.
And Bedessee made it known on the label that his Demerara Gold was a product of Mauritius.
GuySuCo immediately challenged the apparent trademark infringement. Its Washington-based lawyers, Foley Hoag and Company, have already secured a qualified registration in the United States as part of the challenge to Bedessee’s apparent trademark infraction.
Following the discovery of the alleged breach, the Agriculture Minister made some statements critical of Bedessee’s action. These statements were published by the local media and reproduced in the overseas editions of some of the local newspapers. Immediately Bedessee sued for libel and slander.
DECEMBER 15, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
“Where are the 15,000 house-lots that he is speaking of if no money was allocated to develop the land that they paid GuySuCo $4B for?”– Ramjattan
Housing Minister Irfaan Ali is again being accused of blatantly lying to the nation in
relation to statements he made.
Alliance For Change (AFC) Chairman, Khemraj Ramjattan, told this publication that the 15,000 houselots that Ali is now talking about in relation to the $4B paid to the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for land in Diamond, appears to be a figment of Ali’s imagination or a deliberate attempt to mislead Guyanese.
Following the brouhaha that erupted over the manner in which the money was transferred to the state-owned in late 2009, it was also found that no money was allocated for the development of the land that the Housing Ministry purportedly bought.
Ramjattan said that it is Ali’s dishonesty that had put him in trouble in the first place when he along with the Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, breached the Laws of Guyana to have the money secretly transferred to GuySuCo as a bailout.
This bailout, according to Ramjattan, was necessitated by the mismanagement of the industry by individuals including the newly sworn in Labour Minister, Dr Nanda Gopaul, as well as the current President, Donald Ramotar, who were, at the time, both Directors on the Board of the ailing sugar corporation.
Ramjattan insisted that neither he nor his party is arguing against the development of houselots for Guyanese. However, the Minister breached the rules when the money found its way from the nation’s coffers to GuySuCo without the requisite Parliamentary approval, he said.
The AFC official recalled that the money was paid over to GuySuCo long before the Parliamentary approval was sought for its use and this is the issue that he had raised in the National Assembly, sparking a furore on the part of the Minister.
Ali was at the time also accused of flagrantly “disrespecting and acting in contempt of the National Assembly” when he attempted to avoid being grilled on the matter.
The state-owned Guyana Chronicle yesterday reported the Housing Minister as asking “What is so wrong with creating more than 15,000 houselots for Guyanese?”
Ramjattan retorted, “Where are the 15,000 house-lots that he is speaking of if no money was allocated to develop the land that they paid GuySuCo $4B for?”
The AFC Chairman says that following the brouhaha surrounding the $4B and the Minister of Housing, the 2011 Budget was unveiled and it was revealed that there was no money allocated for the development of the land in Diamond, vindicating the position that the money was merely for a bailout of GuySuCo.
There were several subsequent Supplementary Provisions sought in the National Assembly with no money being identified for the development of the land that had been bought by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) with the $4B, through the aegis of the Housing Minister.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sugar Corporation, Paul Bhim, when contacted yesterday by this publication said that he could only confirm that the negotiation between GuySuCo and CHPA for the $4B has been completed.
He said that he was not in a position to say just how much of the land owned by GuySuCo was sold to CHPA to the tune of $4B.
Bhim said, too, that he was also at the time not aware of any additional payments made to the sugar corporation for the land.
He did say that at least half of the money went to capital works for GuySuCo to purchase tractors but could not elaborate any further at the time.
Following the revelations surrounding the $4B and the Minister of Housing’s involvement, the then Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud had told the Parliamentary Economic Services Committee that the money was made as an upfront payment to the entity which at the time was still in negotiations with the CHPA as to the value of the land being sold.
As such, Persaud at the time was unable to tell the Committee exactly what was the value attached to the land at Diamond which GuySuCo was disposing of to the Housing Ministry.
The company at the time was said to be seeking some $37B for its canelands in Diamond which was being retired and disposed of (some 2000 hectares) with close to half committed to housing.
The remainder of the land was scheduled to be put up for sale through a public tender process which Persaud had said would ensure transparency whilst the state company sought to acquire as much as possible for the land.
A new Guyana government should also investigate the crimes committed against citizens by people like Kwame McKoy, Manniram son Navin Prashad, Donald son Alexei Ramotar etc
NOVEMBER 16, 2011 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER LETTERS
Dishonesty in government is the business of every citizen. So says Dalton Trumbo, an American novelist.
This quote aptly describes the action needed by all Guyanese in exposing this PPP/C Government and Donald Ramotar’s smoke and mirror operations on the Presidential Pensions Payment Continuously.
PPP Campaign Manager Mr. Robert Persaud, failed his Uncle in Law miserably with his unintellectual attempt to throw a red herring into the debate on the unrighteous Presidential pension package by bring Mrs. Janet Jagan pension into the picture.
So in his words Janet Jagan earned $729,529 per month, therefore why is Jagdeo demanding over $3 million? Why couldn’t he settle for $729,529? Only the following word comes to mind – covetous and greedy.
Under an AFC Government, greed will be dealt with condignly, and the Presidential Pensions Law will be revised to reduce the Presidential Pension to just above what a Permanent Secretary gets and not a cent more.
I close with excerpts from the lyrics from a song by Red Chilli Pepper “Greedy little people are always in a sea of distress”.
President Jagdeo your distress will start on December 1, when the AFC Government commences its forensic audit into how senior Government officials in the PPP amassed so much wealth in such a short time.
Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, has finally acknowledged that the Skeldon Sugar Factory investment is a failure. This investment amounted to about US$200 million in an economy with an annual GDP of about US$1.2 billion. As a percent of GDP this investment amounts to about 17% of GDP. This makes it the largest single investment failure since Guyana’s independence in 1966. Even the PNC did not accomplish a failure this gigantic.
The PPP Government is hustling to exonerate itself from blame, fixing same on a hapless GuySuCo Board and Management. Guyanese must not be fooled by this false claim. The entire lot should bow out in shame if they have any sense of honour and decency.
The first cause of failure was the mis-advised grant of the contract for construction to the firm, China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC), which had no experience in sugar factory building. The other failings included the acceptance of the factory as complete before the Chinese firm had proven to GuySuCo that it was fully complete and operational; the non-training of locals to operate the factory after the Chinese would have left; the stifling political interference which resulted in experienced, qualified and senior staff including agro-engineers and agronomists being forced out and being replaced by friends and supporters of the Government; the ill-preparedness in not expanding cane cultivation to feed the factory; and, the disrespect for sugar workers which has resulted in massive migration away from work in the Estate.
To solve this problem the PPP Government plans to enter another management contract with either an Indian or Chinese company. Minister Persaud is quoted as saying that the Government was currently evaluating two proposals to manage the said factory.
The AFC sees this development as a grand opportunity for massive corruption. There is no record that any management contract was ever put to a public tender. Moreover, the AFC is aware that taxpayers’ dollars of nearly US$2.5M would have to be paid to the contract manager per month.
More significantly, the AFC has come by reliable information that the Chinese company identified is the selfsame CNTIC, the same company that built the third rate, very high cost Skeldon factory, where the exploded boiler has not yet been properly fixed, the new cane dumper cannot function, and numerous other problems caused by poor quality components are being experienced every day. The maker of this defect-riddled 8,400 tons cane per day grinding capacity factory, which has not yet achieved even half that amount for one day, is being evaluated as a potential contract manager.
Also, the Indian company being evaluated is none other than Surendra Engineering which has the contract for the US$10M Enmore Demerara Gold sugar packaging plant, which plant recently exploded and killed a worker. That specific equipment has not yet been fixed and, in addition, the massive internal work on the factory upgrade to supply the bagging plant has not yet been completed. GuySuCo’s technical managers have refused to accept this work despite political pressure to do so.
This same Surendra Engineering, obviously specially favoured, was awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture a contract for the recently tendered 8 big drainage pumps despite the fact that it does not make pumps at all! Surendra Engineering through another Dubai-based front Company, Salim al Midah, was given the consultancy contract valued approx US$500,000 to provide the plan to upgrade Enmore and Blairmont factories. There is every indication of an unholy alliance between Surendra Engineering and key GuySuCo managers, directors, and politicos to huff all of GuySuCo’s engineering projects including the one now to manage Skeldon, a task Surendra Engineering, like CNTIC, is incapable of doing, both not having the history, experience and managerial capacity in running sugar factories.
The AFC is aware of very experienced and well known Indian and Brazilian consortiums which ought to be invited to give proposals to manage the Skeldon Factory and possibly to procure finances from their respective Governments to assist in doing so.
The AFC has crafted an alternative vision for GuySuCo that will assure simultaneous accounting and social profits for the people. The AFC proposes to reconfigure the sector to retain its survival and sustainability by investing in Fuel Ethanol and Electricity cogeneration. We have even spoken to certain investors about these proposals.
Two Ethanol plants of capacity 100,000 litres per day, operating at least 300 days per annum, can be built adjacent to the existing sugar factories at Enmore, and Wales. The sugar cane from both the Enmore and LBI/Diamond/Houston cultivation would be transported by punts to the re-configured Enmore sugar factory for milling and extraction. Similarly, sugar cane from West Demerara farmers, Wales and Uitvlugt Estates can be combined and be sent to a new Wales factory.
In order to provide the necessary steam and electricity needed at these factories at Enmore and Wales, new steam and electricity cogeneration plants will be built at both these sites.
The expected total investment of these Ethanol Plants, Ethanol Storage, and cogeneration Units is to be approximately US$50M. The field area comprising a total of 40,000 acres, which would be modified over a period of 5 years to accommodate mechanical harvesters, would provide for 1,600,000MT of ripe sugar cane per annum.
1) There would be no significant loss of jobs in the field cultivation areas. In any case, as 20% of the acreage is being modified each year to accept mechanical harvesters, more jobs for tractor and excavator operators would be created, while the reduction in the cane cutters pool would continue on the basis of attrition and aging of the current workforce.
2) The economic activity on the East Coast Demerara and West Bank/Coast Demerara area would see no net loss of major jobs caused by the conversion, and we are likely to see increased commercial activities in the adjacent communities.
3) The two investments would meet with the approval of the World Bank and IFIs which are constantly pushing the Government of Guyana to see either the closure of the Demerara estates or make them produce raw sugar at a competitive world market price, with the latter challenge being impossible to achieve.
The AFC wants to make it clear that an AFC Government will not be fettered by the contractual terms of any management agreement entered into by the PPP/C Government and either CNTIC or Surendra Engineering.
A management contract ought not be entered into now but ought to await until after the elections.