Weeks before the March 2nd general and regional elections, the state-owned National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) processed several transactions for lands across the country.
In addition to its own Privatisation Specialist, Racheal Henry, benefitting, there are details emerging now of at least two other officials who would have also received pieces of land via NICIL.
The two officials are Jermaine Figueira and Waneka Arrindell.
According to the Official Gazette dated March 21st, 2020, which would have been days after the elections, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan signed two pieces of land on February 28th to two brothers- Jermaine Figueira and Jemaine Figueira.
Jermaine Figueira happens to be the Member of Parliament for the A Partnership For National Unity who famously was seen nudging his colleague, Charrandass Persaud, after the latter voted yes to a no-confidence motion on December 21st, 2018, against the Coalition which was in Government.
He is one of the leaders of the coalition’s campaign in the elections for Region 10.
The former MP received 1.851 acres of land. It is described in the Official Gazette as Lot 50 B, being a portion of Plantation Fair’s Rust or Lot 44.
His twin brother, Jemaine Figueira also would have benefitted.This brother, of Wisrock Housing Scheme received a smaller size of 0.46 acres described as Lot 134 A, a portion of Plantation Noitgedacht or Lot 43 located on the Right Bank of Demerara River.
Minister Jordan also signed off on the transaction on February 28th, 2020, but it was not published in the Official Gazette until March 21st, 2020.
Meanwhile, on January 31st, 2020, Minister Jordan also signed off on a piece of Region 10 land for Mayor of Linden, Waneka Arrindell.
Arrindell of Green Valley, Wismar, received the 0.2112 piece of land in Plantation Noitgedacht.
The transaction appeared in the February 15th, 2020 Official Gazette.
The transactions would mirror that of Racheal Henry, NICIL’s Privatisation Specialist.
Days after the March 2nd elections, she too received a plot of land in Region 10.
She lives in Campbellville, Georgetown.
The property was described as 0.152 of an acre, bearing Lot number 7B, or Lot 43, located on the right bank of the Demerara River. The transaction was signed off on February 28, 2020, days before the elections but only published in the Official Gazette on March 21, 2020.
On Monday, Henry was called and asked about the transaction. She said immediately that she had no comments. She also said she is unhappy about the coverage of NICIL by a number of media houses.
Henry was a key player in the much-publicised transactions involving prime lands at Ogle, which were once under sugar cultivation but now being divested by NICIL to raise money for the beleaguered Guyana Sugar Corporation.
Listed as the Head of the Business Development Unit of NICIL, Henry would have been one of the point persons in striking deals with a number of overseas investors. Three hotels were promised to be built in the area not far from Ogle Airport.
There was a flurry of sod-turning exercises at Ogle shortly before the elections. The lands would be seen as strategic as they are located not far from a planned highway that will link the East Coast to the East Bank of Demerara, to reduce the daily congestion.
The Opposition – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, which is tipped to regain power, has vowed to relook at the transactions.
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