– US company says role was to advise on policies and laws, not to evaluate investors
Contrary to a statement issued by the Guyana Government, the Ansa McAl Group was not one of those that
were slated for evaluation by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through a US$1.2 million process.
In a report published in the privately-owned Stabroek News, at the end of 2007, Ansa McAl was not listed by the then Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud as one of the 11 companies that would be evaluated by the IDB.
The companies from whom proposals were received, Persaud said then, were: Sawarima Agro and Bio Energy Enterprise, Canada-registered Agri Solutions Technologies, Global Energy Ventures, Bio-Capital, Twin Lakes, Grynberg, Zoom of India, Integrated Bio-Energy Resources, Iberdrola of Spain, AMCAR/ Jatropha Inc of France, and Anand Marketing.
The government late last Saturday said in July 2010, it awarded a contract to NUMARK Associates Inc. of the United States for the Service Consultancy to expand bio-energy opportunities in Guyana through a public tendering process.
The government explained that as part of the Terms of Reference, NUMARK was tasked with compiling a list of potential Bio Energy Investors who may be interested in investing in Guyana.
“Based on the NUMARK’s report and the proposals received from investors, ANSA McAl was selected after their proposal was scrutinized by technical experts in the field of Bio Energy, which was subsequently approved and signed on September 30, 2011 and witnessed by representatives of the Government and Ansa McAL,” the government stated in a release.
However, Rodrigo Chaparro, Vice President in charge of Sustainable Energy Strategies at NUMARK Associates Incorporated said that NUMARK was tasked with advising on what policies and laws would be needed to create an environment that would attract investments in bio-energy.
NUMARK has said that it did not review any proposal.
“We did not evaluate any proposals; our role was different than that,” Chaparro told Kaieteur News yesterday.
The NUMARK executive gave a different timeline to when his company’s advice was tendered than that offered by the government.
Chaparro, speaking via telephone from his company’s Washington, D.C., office, said that the company ended its contract some time in October last year. However, the agreement with Ansa McAl was signed, by the government’s own admission, a month earlier.
The government has sought to justify the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Trinidadian-based conglomerate for the exploration of ethanol production in Guyana.
In a lengthy statement detailing how the MOU was signed, the government failed to acknowledge why the deal was not made known to the public. The signing of the MOU was detailed in a report in the Trinidad Guardian. This was the source of the Kaieteur News’ initial article on the secret deal.
The government said that it recognized the importance of energy security and took the initiative of hosting the Caribbean’s first forum on expanding Bio Energy Opportunities in the Caribbean of August 2007.
This forum, the government stated, resulted in the IDB partnering with the government through technical cooperation to expand bio-energy opportunities in Guyana.
There is no evidence of the project being open to tender here.
NUMARK said that it submitted a proposal to the IDB, which was funding the project, after it said that a call for Expressions of Interest went out on the IDB’s website.
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