THE recent brouhaha raised by the PPP/C in which they have sought to accuse the APNU+AFC government of ‘’large scale corruption…as Winston Jordan signed off on the transferal of land…” pertaining the vesting orders, signed off by Minister Jordan for lands at Ogle.
Of course, these are accusations that have to do with the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL). NICIL’S FUNCTIONS as custodians of state assets, especially those of lands vested, and its sale of those for investment purposes, which excellent undertaking it has been doing for the benefit of the country and people.
And this current pathway, is unlike the NICIL of pre-May 2015, when this body functioned in a shadowy environment, transacting deals with its details which were largely secret – a case in point being the Marriot Hotel. No doubt, that its former chairman, and CEO are facing criminal charges relative to the institution’s transactions.
Editor, it is pertinent here to explain that the NICIL that functions today is of a progressive and economically-vibrant type, which transactions removes it from the cloak and dagger, smoky room type of deals. In fact, every one of its transactions have been publicised, with the names of investors, and the purpose for the sale of land, and where these are located. Unlike, the old order, which were about friends and cronies – the current transactions are not.
Further, the proceeds from these transactions have been directed towards the refurbishment/enhancement of important social landmarks which were neglected and fell into disuse, during the tenure of PPP/C governance. Today, these renewed entities have been a source of garnering revenue for communities and State.
Now to the current attempts by agents of the PPP/C to suggest dishonesty on the part of the government, as what had been done, following the NCM, accusing the administration of massive land give away to prominent Afro-Guyanese and the latter of participation in land grabbing. Made by none other than the leader of the political opposition, these lies were not only shot down by especially the formidable Geotechnical Engineer, Charles Ceres, defending himself; but who also went on to expose the ugly hypocrisy and double standards of land leasing policy under the PPP/C government. Mr. Ceres also sued Jagdeo, and was successful, as his court suit disproved Jagdeo’s lie. Editor, I have digressed somewhat, but only to give contextual background to another groundless assault on the government, and NICIL’S policy with regards sale of state lands.
Editor, NICIL has since debunked the PPP/C’s spurious claims and pointed out that NICIL received deposits for the lands commencing December 2019 for the transformational Ogle Development project, however, the transactions remained incomplete since the vesting orders were not ‘signed and gazetted’ as required by law and this meant that the remaining sums could not be paid over by the investors. The need for expediency in the payments for land, however, arose after the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) made public its financial crisis.
As NICIL had explained, “… that GuySuCo and the bond holders were in the process of ironing out some matters so that further disbursements could be had. But NICIL, having recognised the urgency of the request, sought to complete the land transactions. It therefore became necessary to regularise the Vesting Orders.”
Though one will agree that NICIL is the custodian of state assets, those with regard to lands have to be vested in the institution with an authorisation for sale to prospective investors, which it has been doing. However, the attempts at misinformation on NICIL’S present transactions, by the political surrogates, seem to have been because of a technicality, surrounding its only recently gazette order for lands vested in its authority, ever since and which transactions for sale to investors would have been entered sometime in 2019. In other words, the completion of such transactions, which have been in train for some time, remained incomplete because of a technicality. That has now been remedied, hence the finalisation of the transactions.
As a reminder: NICIL, functions as a wholly autonomous body, unlike during the regime of the PPP/C, and makes its own decisions, as could be understood from the manner of its present operations. Its portfolio speaks for itself, since it is led by a dynamic young man of strategic vision whose successes are there for the record. It is time that those elements which were aligned with ancient and anti-state and discriminatory policies, understand that the era for dubious deals for close associates and cabal types are over. It has since become a brand-new day; so, let NICIL continue to play its vital role in developmental nation building.
Source: The Guyana Chronicle.