Jagdeo calls on Govt to fix “damning” issues between GuySuCo, SPU

first_imgOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo– says PPP will review all dealsOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is calling on Government to pay close attention to the ongoing feud between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and NICIL’s Special Purpose Unit (SPU), noting that the two state agencies have “damning” issues that need to be fixed.Jagdeo’s comment comes on the heels of a recent visit to the Albion Estate in Berbice by President David Granger, who told residents and workers that he was there to fix things.“…I am not here to bury the sugar industry. I am here to find out what your problems are. I have come to fix things…,” the President was quoted saying in a lengthy statement from the Ministry of the Presidency last week.However, Jagdeo posited that the Head of State first needs to fix the issues between GuySuCo and the NICIL-owned SPU, which are being played out in the public.“He went there to fix things… [But] he can’t fix the relationship between GuySuCo and NICIL – two state entities – and all it takes for him to do is to call them in his office and say cut out this nonsense, I want to see where the money is being spent. That’s all it requires [but] he has to go to Albion to tell people that he’s fixing things,” Jagdeo contended.In a statement on Wednesday, the sugar corporation accused the SPU, which was set up by NICIL to oversee the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets, of unprofessionalism and criticised its approach to divestment.According to the Opposition Leader, the strongly worded missive from GuySuCo is damning.“A state agency accusing the SPU of undermining privatisation, of engaging in illegal acts, of recruiting the consultant to do the valuation [of GuySuCo’s assets] on the basis of a personal relation. That is the valuation that Guyana now must accept in the privatisation process [when] GuySuCo itself has grave concerns on how the consultant [PricewaterhouseCoopers] was recruited,” he noted.Moreover, it was noted that the sugar corporation is yet to be given a copy of the valuation report prepared by the United Kingdom-based consultant. “This is the most damning thing. If this doesn’t require a Commission of Inquiry, nothing does,” the Opposition Leader contended.Nevertheless, Jagdeo went on to talk about the fact that GuySuCo is being kept in the dark when it comes to the transactions on its immovable and moveable assets.“So clearly, GuySuCo doesn’t know what is being sold out and what they’re keeping, and they don’t get any information. They are just like us in the public domain,” the Opposition Leader stressed.In fact, he reiterated claims of SPU removing assets from GuySuCo’s serviceable register to the unserviceable in order to sell them out.Furthermore, he went on to outline that the sugar corporation, which has been downsized by the coalition Government to just three estates – Albion, Blairmont and Uitvulgt, is questioning the scrap metal dealings involving the Wales, West Bank Demerara, estate.Back in April, reports had emerged that scrap metal from GuySuCo, worth some $3 billion, was sold to a mysterious buyer, but the proceeds from the sale were not received by the corporation.The Government has been silent on this transaction and despite the Business Ministry having overall responsibility for the scrap metal trade, former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin had distanced the Ministry from the sale when questioned by Guyana Times in April.Against this backdrop, the Opposition Leader told reporters on Thursday that NICIL has been bypassing the structure put in place for the privatisation of state assets. In fact, he noted that the agency is selling out “blocks of land” at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, including lands that were earmarked for the scrapped Specialty Hospital project.He added too that lands, at Liliendaal and Wales, are also being leased by NICIL and/or the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission. To this end, Jagdeo noted that if the PPP returns to power then all of these deals will come under scrutiny.“I want to warn the businessmen and those who are engaged in this, that if they believe this will fly in the long run and that we are not going to come back and look at all these transactions, they have it wrong because we’re going to do that. We’re not gonna tolerate this wanton giveaway of the resources,” the Opposition Leader posted.In the meantime, this fallout between GuySuCo and NICIL comes just days after the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) met with officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), airing their concerns about the divestment process and the lack of transparency.last_img read more