April 15th, 2014
The Kaieteur News of Sunday April 13th published a report headlined “Ed Ahmad gears to make $600M on $80M Guysuco land”. National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd. (NICIL) wishes to make the facts clear about the allegations made in the report with regard to the privatization of the property referred to in the report.
Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) entered into an agreement on 21st November 2008, with the South American Wood Inc. for the sale of a portion of Plantation Groenveldt on the West Coast of Demerara of approximately 16 acres of land for a wood processing facility for the sum of $80M.
The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Ltd. acted as an agent, at the time, for the sale of a number of State properties listed for privatization, including Guysuco.
The sale of this land was subject to two prior bids: in 2003, the highest valid bid amounted to $30M. In 2004, the land was again tendered for bids and none were received. Following the lack of any tenders the land was sold at a price comparable with valuations established for Guysuco land on the East Coast Demerara at $5M per acre.
Guysuco, in fact, entered into a Restrictive Covenant as set out in the terms and conditions of the sale, published in the Vesting Order effecting the transfer of title, that “the property shall not be used for any other purpose other than for the construction and operation of a wood processing facility with the option of future development in manufacturing, industrial and commercial activities including the construction and operation of shopping mall, providing that the construction of the wood processing facility is commenced first” and “ that construction of a wood processing facility shall commence within one (1) year of the execution of this agreement”
In January 2013, at a press conference, hosted by His Excellency President Ramotar, details of all of the privatisation transactions on behalf of Guysuco, numbering 21, including this transaction, were listed in a public document, entitled “Privatisation in Tables-Phase 11 (1993-2011).
Neither Government, Guysuco, nor NICIL have any knowledge of any change of the agreement which was entered into with South American Wood Inc.