…Company was secretly granted rights for 2,200,000 acres of land- Chris Ram
“Whatever the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, may or may not have said to the Natural Resources Committee of Parliament, one fact is clear: Muri Brasil Ventures Inc, has been granted the right to apply to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) for, and shall be granted (emphasis added) a maximum of eighteen Prospecting Licences for Rare Earth Elements, Bauxite, Limestone, Nephelene Syenite, Gold, Diamonds and Granite Stones.”
This is according to Financial Analyst, Christopher Ram, who in his most recent writings on his chrisram.net media outlet, said that in face of the implications and improprieties, President Ramotar has only one option in this matter.
According to Ram, the President must scrap the ‘Permission to survey’ given to the company and relieve Robert Persaud of any ministerial duties.
Ram suggested that Persaud’s Ministerial performance has been characterised by some grave lapses and his commitment to responsible governance and accountability is even poorer than Guyana’s.
“There are several and dangerous implications arising from the actions of Minister Persaud, whatever he and his Stakeholder Support Officer namesake may try to spin,” said Ram.
He suggested that much has been made about whether or not Persaud lied, or as his counterpart in the National Assembly Joseph Harmon, euphemistically put it, “was economical with the truth.”
“Of course, lying by politicians and, particularly this current crop, is not a barrier to upward mobility, often goes hand-in-hand with the accumulation of private wealth, and proudly worn as a badge of honour among peers rather than condemned by the citizenry”.
According to Ram, the area involved in this ‘Permission’ cannot be expressed in units of hundreds or even thousands.
Rather, the rights granted by the Minister covers an area 2.2 million acres of Guyana, which represents more than four per cent of the land mass of Guyana.”
He said, too, that the revenue which the Government of Guyana will collect over the three-year period is a paltry US$85,000.
“Clearly, the Minister places very little value on the resources of this country.”
Ram in his analysis of the Permission granted to survey the large tract of land, pointed out that unlike several permissions granted under the same Act, the Muri permission is not limited to one mineral such as gold or petroleum.
“This is for at least seven distinct types of mineral…The opportunities and financial incentives for the permission holder to explore for these are commensurately greater.”
Ram suggested that with the GGMC controlled by the Minister, as if it is a Unit of his loosely defined Ministry, any expectation that the GGMC would or could competently oversee the execution of the Permission seems hopelessly misplaced.
Ram said, too, that among the many concerns is the capacity of the persons involved.
“The company, Muri Brasil Ventures Inc. was incorporated in Guyana just months before the issue of the Permission, with a very modest authorised share capital of one hundred thousand shares with a minimum issue price of $1 each.”
He said that while it is unclear how the surveys will be financed, “what we do know is that one of the directors, is it seems, the money behind the project is a Yucatan Reis, believed to be a Brazilian national.
The other director is Dean Hassan formerly of North American Resources Incorporated Limited, “with which he parted company in less than amicable circumstances.”
He noted that the Company Secretary is David Bacchus, a name that has long been associated with the GGMC and mining.
Ram did note, “I am trying to ascertain whether this is the same person who has been appointed to investigate a complaint in which the Minister was named.”
He said that given the circumstances, “you would expect that the Minister would have caused to be carried out a thorough due diligence of the application and applicants, including all statutory compliance and money-laundering clearance, of all the persons behind Muri.”
Ram suggested that Hassan has friends in high places and pointed out that at a Christmas party he hosted on Friday night at the New Thriving Restaurant, the Minister and the Prime Minister were prominent by their presence.
Ram pointed out too that the news of the Survey Permission granted by Persaud, may even have international implications for Guyana.
“It has drawn a not particularly friendly reaction from Suriname where the Deputy Speaker of Parliament is calling for her country to lodge a formal complaint with Guyana…That will certainly complicate issues even as the bigger question remains the border with Brazil.”
According to Ram, Guyanese will now wait to see if Ramotar will define himself and protect the integrity of the borders of this country.
“Decisive action on this issue will give some credibility to his Presidency…If he fails to act now, nothing ever will.”
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