– Harmon says “nothing special” about the company
Since last year, the media was promised an intervention. Finance Minister, Winston Jordan vowed that he would have asked the Board of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) to be more open to the media. However, it has become clear that it is either a case where Jordan failed to make good on his promise or NICIL’s management refuses to take the advice of the Minister.
While in opposition, both the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) called for transparency at NICIL. But now these very politicians are playing a part in shrouding the company’s operations.
A few weeks ago, Kaieteur News questioned Harmon about the operations of NICIL. However, he shunned inquires. Harmon told this newspaper that despite being a member of NICIL’s Board, he would not answer the question posed, because he was wearing his Minister of State hat.
So, at the last post-Cabinet press briefing, the question was phrased differently. Kaieteur News asked Harmon about the updates Cabinet has been receiving on the operations of NICIL.
Again, Harmon avoided giving details.
Harmon resorted to saying that there is “nothing special” about the company. Nevertheless, he said that Cabinet is up to date about operations of the company.
“Cabinet is continuously updated on matters of issues in the ministerial sectors, NICIL falls under the Ministry of Finance and the Minister of Finance regularly updates Cabinet on issues within his sector,” Harmon said.
He continued, “There is nothing special about NICIL, but if an issue comes up it is dealt with. For instance we had to deal with an issue about the AHI (Atlantic Hotel Inc.) with regards to Marriott. We are dealing now with the appointment of Boards in the hinterland under the hinterland electrification programme. Any special features will be dealt with at Cabinet as necessary, but we do not go looking beyond as to say let me have this or that.”
Kaieteur News has been trying persistently, for over a year, to contact the NICIL Chairman Dr. Maurice Odle, for him to give an account of certain matters at the company which he had spoken of initially during his appointment in August 2015. He remains out of the media’s reach.
Chief Executive Officer Horace James has also become hard to make contact with.
Harmon, who is now claiming that there is nothing special about NICIL, had the loudest voice in opposition calling for the company to be more open in its operations. However the media is yet to know the extent to which things have changed or what remains from the days when it was controlled by Winston Brassington (Executive Director), Dr. Roger Luncheon (Director) and Dr. Ashni Singh (Minister).
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