– Ramroop agrees to settle bill for Camp Street property
For more than three decades, it was under the control of Government. Then in the late 2000s, a water well at the Sanata Textile Complex, Ruimveldt, was sold under questionable circumstances by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to Queens Atlantic Investments Inc. (QAII), a group of companies under the direction of Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop.
NICIL is the state-owned company that handles investments and privatizations of public properties.
Why the administration of former President Bharrat Jagdeo decided to sell the well which was managed by the Guyana Water Inc. (GWI) is now the big question. Jagdeo is a close friend of Ramroop.
While the well was located in the Sanata complex, it served over 9,000 customers in the Ruimveldt area, including D’Aguiar Park, Alexander Village, Meadowbank and West Ruimveldt.
Each month, GWI has been paying almost $3M in electricity bills for the well as well as sending its technicians daily. Its technicians access the well through QAII security.
The ownership of the well came up recently when technicians attempted to conduct checks of water connection at the QAII at the Ruimveldt facility, but were later asked by management of the water company to suspend all investigations until further notice.
The complex houses a newspaper, radio and storage bond, as well as administration offices of QAII.
QAII claimed that the visits by technicians were in retaliation to a report carried in a newspaper it owned that GWI’s Managing Director, Dr. Richard Van-West Charles, benefitted from a fuel import and storage licence.
Dr. Van-West Charles later admitted that he told the technicians to stand down after he was requested to do so by Chairman of the GWI Board, Mr Nigel Hinds.
Hinds, when asked, said that ownership of the well was in question and GWI needed to probe this.
The Chairman said he would be releasing the findings of the probe. A meeting was held this week between GWI management and Ramroop, with the water company issuing a statement yesterday confirming indeed that the well is no longer in GWI’s control.
According to a GWI statement, its investigations were to ascertain in whose name the well located in the compound of Sanata Textile, Ruimveldt, was registered.
GWI said that during the meeting with Ramroop, it was agreed that “GWI will continue to service the well, which also supplies water to residents within its environs.”
GWI said that Dr. Ramroop indicated that he had bought the entire complex which included the well but “inherited the daily checks of the well by GWI .He assured GWI that he will not interfere with this arrangement.”
GWI said that based on information received internally, the well was maintained by Guyana Sewage and Water Works Commission (GS&WC) and when the merger occurred in 2002, resulting in the formation of GWI, the practice continued.
With regards to another property owned by QAII, and located at Camp and Quamina Streets, and which like the Sanata complex was not reflected on GWI database, the water company said that it has agreed to come to a settlement.
“Meantime, GWI is pleased to report that all outstanding monies owed to this utility by QAII have been settled amicably. QAII owns the building at 238 Camp and Quamina Streets, which housed two media outfits (Guyana Times and Television Guyana Ch. 28) and was willing to settle any outstanding rates for that property.
It should also be noted that the monies have already been paid to settle the account of the above address.”
GWI said it hopes to continue this relationship of “mutual understanding with QAII”, where bills are paid up to date for all of its commercial offices that utilize water services.
The revelations that NICIL, under the administration of Jagdeo, handed over the well to QAII, as part of the entire Sanata deal, would raise questions about what else has been given away.
It would be recalled that the Sanata transaction has sparked anger over the manner in which was done.
NICIL’s advertisement was for a part of the complex. When no one expressed interest, Ramroop somehow was allowed to make an offer for the entire complex.
Jagdeo later claimed that as a matter of principle, he had asked to leave the Cabinet meeting where the Sanata deal was being considered for approval.
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