Days before the March 2nd general and regional elections, government transferred a key piece of waterfront property to B.K. Marine Incorporated.
The transaction is now being described as highly suspicious, with calls for a probe.
“This obviously smells…a couple days before elections. It is completely unacceptable,” said attorney-at-law, Christopher Ram.
Ram, also a Chartered Accountant, made it clear that the transaction would be seen by some as immoral, and not how a caretaker government should be handling the assets of the state.
“Any transactions since the CCJ ruling of last year ought to be reviewed…from a good governance stance, and of course, in the interest of protecting the assets of the state.”
According to the Official Gazette of March 28th, 2020, the order was signed since February 26th, 2020 by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.
Elections were a few days later, on March 2nd.
The Transfer of Property Order to B.K. Marine Inc. of Queenstown would give the purchaser absolute title to the property. The property had been held by the state’s National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited. The notice in the Official Gazette did not give a price.
B.K.’s principal is Brian Tiwari.
The property in question was a former rice wharf that was leased to B.K. A stone depot was constructed there.
The transfer of lands will include three properties, including erections and totaling 2.553 acres.
The property would be prime real estate for the oil and gas industry, as it is located alongside the Demerara River, not far from the Marriott Hotel.
Already, it was announced last year that US-owned Halliburton Guyana Inc. has applied for permits to set up a facility at a Kingston wharf meant to service the emerging oil fields.
It has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the necessary ‘Environmental Authorizations’ to set up a liquid mud plant to supply the offshore oil exploration and drilling operations.
Yesterday, attorney-at-law Sanjeev Datadin was clear, that the transaction will not withstand scrutiny.
“This is a transaction that was done by a caretaker government. How could you enter an agreement days before elections when you are just holding on for the sake of elections? Obviously, it is a transaction that will have to be reviewed.”
Calls to the former minister was not answered yesterday.
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