I hereby respond to Kaieteur News’ front page headline in its Sunday edition of 15 January, which read as follows: ‘NICIL MUST CLEAN UP ‘MESSY’ GNIC LAND DEAL OR REPOSSESS LANDS”. It is interesting that the CEO of SARU, Mr. Aubrey Heath-Retemeyer, had a meeting with me, as Officer-in-Charge of NICIL, just a few days before (9 January) the appearance of the headline in the Kaieteur News. It is reported that, inter alia, “we discussed with NICIL the fact that it has to clean up that mess where the lease (GNIC) is not being adhered to”. However, dealing with GNIC’s rental payment delinquency is a rather complicated matter.
Let it be known that the new NICIL Board of Directors and management have been making strenuous efforts from the inception to rectify the GNIC and other land related matters that were inherited a year and-a-half ago. However, to salvage the situation and protect the workers, there were at an early stage social compassion interventions by the Ministers of Business and Social Protection, as well as Larparkan, the Workers Union and others that have stayed liquidation attempts.
Then, on 21 April, 2016, the Chairman of National Engineering Company (GNEC) which is owned by the workers and holds 30% of GNIC’s shares, wrote requesting that a hold be put on bankruptcy proceedings for three months, which the NICIL Board of Directors and the Minister of Finance acceded to, so as to save jobs and to allow GNEC discussion with an Investor who was interested in acquiring the company. However, 31 October, 2016 came and went and the workers had still failed to find an Investor. NICIL therefore instructed its lawyers to recommence receivership proceedings against GNIC.
NICIL is committed to work through the court system so as to ensure that monies owed are received and will apply all available contractually related remedies, including repossession. In the meantime, NICIL, via court action, managed to ‘garnish’ $35M that was owed by Demarara Distillers Ltd and Nagasor Sawh Ltd to GNIC, and so was able to partially offset that amount against the G$148.86M arbitration judgement of 2013 that GNIC continues to fail to honour.
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