Sep 29, 2020 News
Coalition’s giveaway of prime ECD lands…
Corum Group Inc, the developer with plans to construct a Holiday Inn Hotel at Ogle East Coast Demerara has relinquished the five acres of prime lands allocated to it in what is being dubbed ‘a mad rush’ deal by the previous APNU+AFC administration.
The company is now the third developer that has opted to return lands to the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to allow for a cleaner and transparent process after it was discovered that the previous regime, through former Finance Minister Winston Jordan, vested the lands without due process.
These are prime lands that are located near a major planned highway that would link the East Coast and East Bank transportation network. The almost 1,000 acres of prime lands opened by NICIL for commercial development are said to be worth billions of dollars.
Managing Director of Corum Group Inc, Clairmont Cummings, in a statement yesterday explained that back in 2017, the company had submitted an expression of interest (EOI) to NICIL for the lease of lands to develop a global chain branded hotel in Guyana.
Then later, in 2018, after high level meetings which included market visits by senior directors at Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), Corum signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IHG for the development of Holiday Inn Guyana.
According to Cummings, the deal was tabled in 2020 with approval coming from NICIL to lease the five acres of lands located at Ogle Plantations.
“Corum Group Inc. wishes to voluntarily revert lands to NICIL, without prejudice to support the Government of Guyana in its mandate,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding, we at Corum look forward to working with NICIL and the Government of Guyana through its recently announced Request for Proposals (RFP) to build an international hotel in Guyana at the appropriate time.”
Back in June, Kaieteur News had reported that Jordan, the then Minister of Finance, had approved the sale of 130 acres of prime East Coast lands to a list of developers – all on the same day – June 11, 2020.
Images of the vesting orders signed by Jordan were posted to social media and listed Bosai Minerals Group (Guyana) Incorporated (General Manager, Eric Yu); Premier Sales Incorporated; American Marine and Services Incorporated; Trinuyana Investments Incorporated (Director, John Aboud); Cardiology Services Incorporated; Supergraphics Enterprise (Owner, Eton Cordis); Navigant Builders (Owner, Danny Sawh); Caribbean Marketing Enterprise Incorporated (Director, Mike Elliot); GUYOIL (CEO, Renatta Exeter), and Earl’s Court Incorporated as the companies that cashed in on the deal.
Although the lands were vested to the companies, no payment was made to the government, giving a clear indication that the State lands were merely given away.
Navigant Builders Inc, a subsidiary of Windsor Estates and Cardiology Services Incorporated are the other two companies that initially relinquished their lands.
Cardiologist, Dr. Mahendra Carpen, Managing Director of Cardiology Services Inc, had secured the lands for the construction of a state-of-the-art private hospital.
It was reported that back in 2017, the company contacted NICIL by way of an EoI to lease lands in Ogle. It was said that the agreement was penned in February 2020 – mere days before the March 2020 Elections.
According to information received, payments for the lands were not completed; however the lands were still transferred to the company.
Then Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), as well as public accountability advocates, had argued at the time that the Coalition government, being in caretaker mode, could not be involved in such deals.
Not to mention, the country was embroiled in the widely publicized electoral impasse.
Navigant Builders Incorporated then followed suit, relinquishing some 30 acres of land to allow for a more transparent reissuing of lands.
Back in February of this year, NICIL and Navigant Builders Inc. officials turned the sod for the expansive Windsor Estate East Coast Project at Ogle.
The company had revealed that due to the political uncertainty at the time, the project was suspended and it made no attempts to initiate any transfer of lands or advance the project.
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