Chief Executive Officer of the National Industrial Commercial Investment Limited, (NICIL), Colvin Heath-London, is refuting claims that Government has taken steps to sell the non-functional Skeldon Sugar Plant to a South African Company.
His response comes days after former Attorney General and PPP legal point man, Anil Nandlall, accused the government of secretly making a deal to sell off boilers and other components of the plant to an overseas-based company.
Additionally, Heath-London noted that the sale of anything related to the sugar plant will have to go through Cabinet.
He said that the proposal would need to be discussed at Cabinet and go through an entire process before anything can be sold.
“This process involves bidding and other things so it’s transparent. So to my knowledge, there are no such plans.”
This is not the first time that NICIL is facing criticism for the management of assets and operations of GUYSUCO which has considerably downsized due to the closure of key sugar estates.
Last week, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union GAWU said that it had learnt, through newspaper advertisements, that the NICIL-Special Purpose Unit (SPU) is undertaking the sale of sugar assets that were attached to the now-shuttered Skeldon Estate.
GAWU noted that the advertisement is the latest iteration of the sellout of assets belonging to the sugar industry by NICIL-SPU.
The advertisement was seeking interested persons and organisations to express interest in what are deemed ‘unserviceable’ motor vehicles and motorcycles.
According to the Union, previously, there was information that NICIL-SPU sold several movable items from the sugar estates placed in its hands.
“We had learnt earlier this year, that tractors, motorcycles and agricultural implements were sold at what could be deemed ‘basement prices’.
It was opined that the assets disposed could have obtained superior prices.
This view, we should add, as far as we recollect, was never denied or corrected by NICIL-SPU.”
Additionally, the Union said there were concerns regarding whether the sale prices resembled the valuation that was carried out.
“We recall, concerns being raised about the sale of so-called scrap iron from the closed estates. That sale, we understand, brought in a large sum and again it was felt that higher prices could have been obtained.
“In fact, our Union was made to understand, that one buyer who purchased the ‘scrap iron’ at the Wales factory made a hefty profit from the deal.
Previously, the government had committed to ensuring the sale of sugar assets was above reproach and was transparent.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, in responding to questions regarding the sale of the Skeldon factory, had said that such a sale would have to be done in a very transparent process, because this Government prides itself on accountability and transparency.”
However GAWU notes that the reality, it appears, has been divorced from what was committed to.
“In terms of the planned sellout, these so-called unserviceable vehicles, we gather, were previously operable when they were being used by the Skeldon Estate.
We should add, though, that, we understand some were aged but they were still not unserviceable. We cannot help but wonder how they became unserviceable and if they really are in such a state,” the Union queried.
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