The questionable Providence lands transaction involving businessman Brian Tiwarie and
Chinese-owned BaiShanLin was not the only one of its kind.
There are indications now that a right hand man of Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop also benefitted from 28.8 acres for $173M ($6M per acre). Ramroop is a close friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo whose companies questionably benefitted from billions of dollars in contracts and state assets.
However, shortly after acquiring those Providence lands, without lifting a finger and laying the required infrastructure works, and in breach of his agreement with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Roopnarine ‘Ravie’ Ramcharitar resold those lands for three times the price he paid– over $570M (US$2.8M).
It was a well-thought out plan, according to CH&PA documents.
Ramcharitar, who was a former director of the Berbice Bridge, registered a company named Luxury Realty Inc. in October 2013. He was listed then as both the Director and Secretary.
An agreement with CH&PA listed the sale price of those 28.8 acres as $172.8M.
However, it appeared that shortly after signing the agreement, in August 2014, CH&PA senior officials at the Brickdam office facilitated a new sale with an unsuspecting US-based Guyanese.
That Guyanese forked over US$2.8M, during a signing at the CH&PA offices.
Heading the Ministry of Housing at that time was former minister, Irfaan Ali.
His government- the People’s Progressive Party/Civic- lost the early general elections that were held 10 months later in May 2015.
That transaction was one of several questionable ones involved lands stretching from Eccles to Providence, sold to a number of close friends of the previous administrations. There were several hundreds of acres involved.
Several plots of those lands remained undeveloped despite conditions that construction of the infrastructure had to start within six months, in some cases.
The Coalition Government has started moving to repossess some of those lands.
Ramcharitar’s transactions, of benefitting from a sweetheart deal blessed by CH&PA, would mirror that of Tiwarie, owner of BK International.
Tiwarie’s company, Sunset Lakes Inc, managed to acquire 100 acres of lands not too far from Ramcharitar’s.
However, eight weeks after securing the lands from CH&PA for US$2.2M (approximately $440M), Tiwarie turned around and flipped the company to BaiShanLin for US$8M ($1.6B).
BaiShanLin is a Chinese investor that ran into trouble over its operations here and had its forest lands taken away by the Coalition Government.
BaiShanLin, now facing financial problems, was unable to pay Tiwarie the US$8M it promised and early last year, the businessman took BaiShanLin to court, asking for his balance of US$4M. Tiwarie also demanded back his company Sunset Lakes and wanted the court to forfeit the US$4M that BaiShanLin had advanced him.
On the lands currently, BaiShanLin had started to build a number of luxury homes, announcing prices upwards of $50M.
However, all that remains now is the fence and ghostly, unfinished properties. There has been little work in the last two years.
BaiShanLin and its principal, Chu Hongbo, now a Guyanese citizen, are now reportedly concentrating on gold mining.
Last week, the lands were in receivership as Sunset Lakes had borrowed heavily. They were being advertised for sale.
Receiver/Manager, accountant Nigel Hinds, announced that he was inviting tenders for local and foreign parties interested in purchasing the 100 acres, either entirely or in parts.
This latest development would continue to anger persons who have applied for house lots and homes from CH&PA, but are being told there are no lands.
There are more than 20,000 applications pending at the CH&PA, with Government announcing plans to build duplexes and apartments for low income families in the short term.
Large swaths of lands behind Republic Park and Providence have been sold under questionable circumstances to several private developers who were looking to cash in on the booming housing drive between 2010 and 2014.
CH&PA has been promising to go after the private developers for breaching their conditions, including the building of infrastructure like drains and roads.
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