Owners of the Trinidad-headquartered MovieTowne brand are insisting that everything was above board with the 10-acres land deal.
MovieTowne’s main principal, Derek Chin, who is here to fast-track the Turkeyen project, valued at US$40M, for a possible August opening of the movie theaters.
However, the project, which is delayed, is also overshadowed by charges laid against former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former privatization head, Winston Brassington.
They were charged in April for overseeing the sale of 10 acres of lands at Turkeyen, located along the East Coast of Demerara highway.
Prosecutors of the police’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) are accusing the two former top officials of the previous administration of selling the lands below value.
According to the charges, Dr. Singh and Brassington allegedly sold a tract of land, some 10.002 acres at Plantation Turkeyen, property of the State of Guyana for the sum of $185,037,000, without first having procured a valuation of the said property from a competent valuation officer.
Responding to questions during a tour by media and private sector officials of the facilities, Tuesday, Chin insisted that his company is a third party.
He recalled that it was the former Prime Minister Sam Hinds or President Bharrat Jagdeo, who during a visit to Trinidad, fell in love with MovieTowne.
He was asked about the possibilities of bringing one to Guyana.
He took the plunge.
Chin said that he is disinclined to get his company involved in any kind of “bacchanal”. He said he had initially been told that the land transactions were above board.
Acknowledging that the cost of the land may have been $2M, Chin said that about US$1M was paid.
For that US$1M, Guyana is now getting a US$40M investments, he stressed.
“On our part, we had to deliver.”
He said that MovieTowne did not come to speculate but to contribute.
In addition to the investments, the project which has at least a 20-year stay, will be generating significant employments and other activities.
Chin argued that it was how investments work.
He pointed to “free lands” in St. Vincent and St. Lucia that his company was offered to invest there.
Had MovieTowne taken the Turkeyen lands and flipped it for US$5M then the government of Guyana would have been within its rights to take him to the cleaners, Chin said.
“Nothing untoward happened. They were happy I said yes.”
He said that his human resource personnel are in Guyana and are recruiting staffers.
The long term plans for MovieTowne is to spread its wings in Guyana, using its revenues to invest in other areas right here, Chin said.
Chin believed that there are enough legal minds to settle the matter with the lands. He also disclosed that he is being legally advised and there is the hope that it just “goes away”.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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