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    Georgetown, Guyana
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04
Jan 21

NICIL addresses dismissal of workers at Wales

The Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) on Monday announced the dismissal of workers from the Wales estate. NICIL has sought to explain its decision. Below are statements from both entities:

NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED (NICIL) as a State institution was integral in following through on the Government’s vision to revitalize the sugar estates and in so doing handed over the vested Estates namely Skeldon, Rose Hall and Enmore Estates with effective date from September 30, 2020 to The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO).

Government’s initiative for the Wales Estate was addressed under the creation of a flagship project captioned, ‘The Wales Development Authority (WDA)’. This project will represent a new era in Agricultural development and will see the employment of modern economic models across various sectors. It was therefore noted that …

“The Wales Development Authority will be a new area of development that will benefit from special incentives, that will benefit from a special tax regime to motivate investors in manufacturing, industrial development, warehousing, connectivity and wharf development …”

NICIL therefore sought to reorganize its operations across its varied locations, given that from 2017 most of the equipment and machinery of the Wales Estate were transferred to other Estates to enhance their operational efficiency and optimize their operations. Other remaining assets were utilized in NICIL’s Rice Cultivation Project, which was discontinued in October, 2020 given that it was not feasible to continue thereafter.

NICIL maintained forty-nine (49) fortnightly paid workers, as at December 31, 2020. These workers were deployed in various fields including Administration, Compound Maintenance, Field Workshop, Agriculture with Security workers making up the majority of workers, namely thirty-two (32) workers on record. The security workers were allowed to secure employment through the recently engaged private security company and the other workers would be contracted as necessary on an ad-hoc basis to provide maintenance services on the Estate.

At the time of NICIL’s receipt of a letter from Trade Union Recognition & Certification Board (TURCB) plans were already in train to effect the transfer of the Wales Estate to facilitate the creation of the Wales Development Authority. NICIL’s actions to separate from fortnightly paid workers were in full support of its intent to ready the Estate for the ultimate transition.

NICIL would have further facilitated the employment of several workers by referring them to the independent security company which is now tasked with securing the immovable assets of the Wales Estate during this brief transition phase.

NICIL remains committed to working in tandem with Government’s vision for furthering the developmental goals of Guyana.

BY ORDER OF NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED (NICIL)

See below full statement issued by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) on Monday:

The state-owned holding company – the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) – on December 31, 2020 fired, without the hint of warning, approximately sixty (60) workers who were employed by the company at Wales Estate. The workers were mainly engaged in providing security as well as other labouring tasks. The sudden termination dumbfounded the workers who were completely unprepared for the bombshell announcement.

The workers, during last year, had approached the GAWU to speak on their behalf. The Union on November 06, 2020 applied to the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board (TURCB) seeking to be recognised as their bargaining agent. Following receipt of our application, the TURCB approved the conduct of a survey, in keeping with the Trade Union Recognition Act. The survey sought to determine whether the GAWU enjoyed the workers support. Attempts to commence the survey were short-circuited by the NICIL which, on two (2) occasions, did not turn up for meetings organized by the TURCB to commence the process. Subsequently, NICIL, by letter of December 11, 2020, wrote the TURCB seeking to commence the process, strikingly, on December 31, 2020. The Board, having considered the letter, had acquiesced to the request.

But as hindsight has now revealed, it appeared, that the letter was, seemingly, a deliberate ploy to thwart the workers attempt to secure a union of their choice. The actions of NICIL brings back painful memories for the Union which faced similar challenges as it confronted the plantocracy in seeking recognition on behalf of the field and factory workers in the sugar industry. It is unbelievable, for us that in this 21st century workers must still face such travails to secure union recognition. Worse yet such actions are initiated by a company that is owned by the State.

The GAWU, earlier this morning, wrote TURCB Chairman, Dr N.K. Gopaul to apprise him of the developments. In our correspondence, we pointed out that the actions of the NICIL are in grave contravention of the Trade Union Recognition Act. Moreover, we noted that the Act has identified such conduct as criminal and we sought the Board’s immediate intervention to apprehend the matter and ensure that the workers rights are upheld.

The Union finds the actions of NICIL to be deeply disturbing. For the workers, given the depression that has gripped Wales since the estate was closed at the end of 2016, it represented a cherished source of sustenance. We are aware of the efforts of the incumbent Administration as they seek to breathe life back into the former estate communities and the actions of the state-owned holding company, in our view, serves to gravely undermine those efforts.

 

Source: News Room Guyana

23
Nov 20

PRESS RELEASE

 

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA, November 23, 2020: NICIL refers to the response of Colvin Heath- London to the Press Release issued by NICIL in relation to an alleged forged document purporting to be part of NICIL’s Board Meeting minutes and records.

The said receipts attached to Mr. London’s response were drawn up and issued by NICIL’s Accounts Clerk upon being directly instructed to so do by Mr. London while he was Chief Executive Officer (Ag) of NICIL in July 2020.

The said Accounts Clerk has already given a statement to this effect to the Guyana Police Force.

Additionally, it has not gone unnoticed that the decision contained in the alleged forged ‘Board Note’ is being attributed to Mr. Horace James, former Chief Executive Officer of NICIL who is now deceased.

It should also be noted that the members of the Board of Directors of NICIL in January 2018 at the time the alleged ‘Board Note’ was created were Dr. Maurice Odle, Mr. Oswald Barnes, Mr. Berkley Wickham, Ms. Sonya Roopnauth, and Mr. Joseph Harmon.

However, only Mr. Horace James (deceased), Mr. Colvin Heath-London, and Director Joseph Harmon were present as per the alleged Board Note. It must be emphasized that in January 2018, neither Mr. Horace James (deceased) nor Mr. Colvin Heath-London were Directors of NICIL.

For all intents and purposes and based on all the records at NICIL duly examined, the meeting from which this purported Board Note allegedly emanated never occurred.

 

-ENDS-

23
Nov 20

PRESS RELEASE

BY THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL INVESTMENTS LIMITED

 

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA, November 22, 2020: NICIL’s attention was drawn to a document currently circulating in the public domain which purports to be part of the minutes of NICIL’s Board Meetings, an official record of NICIL. This document seems to be relied upon by Mr. Colvin Heath-London the former Chief Executive Officer (Ag) of NICIL during his interrogation by members of the Guyana Police Force.

This unsigned document has been carefully examined by NICIL and it has been concluded that is it neither a document emanating from NICIL nor is it part of the minutes of any Board Meeting of NICIL.

NICIL’s Board Meetings are recorded and minuted by the Company Secretary in a particular style and format and all such minutes and records are kept by the Company Secretary.

The document currently in circulation is absolutely inconsistent with and does not meet the standardized format of NICIL Board Meeting minutes or any NICIL document.

The said document is titled a ‘Board Note’ from a meeting of the board of NICIL. There is no document in NICIL’s records which is styled a ‘Board Note’. In any event and most importantly, the content of that document and the decisions contained therein are not recorded in any minutes of any meeting of the Board of NICIL on that date or at all.

In the circumstances, NICIL will formally request that the Guyana Police Force investigate that document as an alleged forgery.

 

-ENDS-

26
Sep 20

By Kaieteur News

 

One day after Navigant Builders relinquished 30 acres of lands which were controversially transferred during the elections impasse by the coalition government, another developer has announced intentions to also rescind.

Managing Director, Dr. Mahendra Carpen

Yesterday Cardiology Services Inc. announced it had since 2017 reached out to NICIL by way of an Expression of Interest to purchase various lands in Ogle (the “Property”) for the purposes of building a hospital.
The company’s Managing Director is well-known cardiologist, Dr. Mahendra Carpen.
It disclosed that in February of 2020, an Agreement of Sale was signed.
“In June 2020, without the knowledge or participation of Cardiology Services Inc, the property was vested in Cardiology Services Inc. though the financial terms of the transaction had not been completed.”
According to the company, given the circumstances surrounding the vesting of the property, it has “agreed to rescind the Vesting Order without prejudice and revert title of the property to NICIL so as to enable the Government of Guyana to fulfill its mandate to ensure all lands are reclaimed unimpeded.”
Cardiology Services Inc. said yesterday that it looks forward to “working with NICIL and the Government of Guyana to achieve their mutual goals of building a state of the art private hospital at the appropriate time.”
This development follows on a similar decision by Navigant Builders on Thursday. There were questions this year after it was announced by the Coalition government and NICIL that several plots of the Ogle lands, formerly under sugar cane cultivation have been sold to developers.
This happened shortly before the March 2nd elections. Both Navigant and Cardiology Services are saying that the lands were transferred to them despite the payments not being completed.
The highly questionable transactions involved the transfer of the lands, which are located near a major planned highway that would link the East Coast to the East Bank transportation network.
In addition to Navigant Builders, the other companies which conducted transactions were Supergraphics (5.058 acres); GUYOIL (1.500 acres); the Residences at Earl’s Court Incorporated (10.281 acres); Navigant Builders Incorporated (30.000 acres); Premier Sales and Services Incorporated (5.015 acres); Trinuyana Investments Incorporated (19.678 acres), Caribbean Marketing Enterprise Incorporated (21.096 acres), American Marine Services Incorporated (20.000 acres) and Cardiology Incorporated (8.000 acres).
A number of the developers above had indicated plans to build hotels, with sod-turning days before the March 2 elections. The government, under President Irfaan Ali, has said it will investigate transactions involving State properties that took place after the December 21, 2018 no-confidence vote, which effectively toppled the Coalition Government.

 

Source: Kaieteur News

25
Sep 20

By NewsRoom

The sod turning ceremony at the site of the construction for the Windsor Estates Housing Development

 

Windsor Estates, which was undertaking a project at Ogle, East Coast Demerara to build luxury residential properties and Class A office spaces, has announced that it is handing back the title and the land to the Government for it to be reissued in a more transparent manner.

Windsor Estates had planned the project under a company called Navigant Builders, which immediately after the elections announced that it was postponing plans to continue the development and cancelled all payments to NICIL, the government’s investment arm.

In June 2020, the company said NICIL vested the property in its name without its knowledge, even though it had indicated in writing to NICIL that it could not move ahead with the project until the elections crisis was resolved.

“In light of the cloud of uncertainty that surrounds the transfer of title, we hereby announce that we would like to rescind the Vesting Order and revert such title back to NICIL, thus to enable the Government of Guyana to reclaim all lands and re issue such properties in a more transparent manner,” the company stated in a press release which was also issued by NICIL.

The company said it intends to embark on a signature urban mixed-use development “in the near future and looks forward to working with NICIL and the Government of Guyana in this endeavor.”

 

Source: NewsRoom

25
Sep 20

By Newsroom

 

Navigant Builders Inc. and Cardiology Services Inc. have relinquished Vesting Orders and reverted the title of the lands to NICIL.

On Friday, a second major developer, Cardiology Services Inc. voluntarily relinquished the Vesting Order and reverted the title of the lands at Ogle, East Coast Demerara vested to it.

In its press release, Cardiology Services Inc. stated that “without the knowledge and participation of Cardiology Services Inc. the property was vested in Cardiology Services Inc. though the financial terms of the transaction had not been completed.”

The Vesting orders were signed by the former Minister of Finance under the APNU+AFC Government Winston Jordan.

Winston Jordan

On Thursday, in its release, Navigant Builders Inc. stated that in June 2020, unbeknownst to Navigant, NICIL vested the property to Navigant, although Navigant had previously cancelled all payments to NICIL.

Both companies have signalled that they have a continued interest in their respective projects and look forward to working with NICIL and the Government.

Source: Newsroom
21
Sep 20

By Guyana Times

 

— new CEO says squatting will not be encouraged, persons must go through system

The National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has issued a stern warning to persons who have taken up residence and erected structures on its land, particularly in areas along the East Coast of Demerara (ECD).
In a recently published notice, NICIL warned that it has not authorised anyone to “occupy, remain or construct” any structures on vacant lands which were previously canefields south of the Railway Embankment in Vryheid’s Lust, Success and Chateau Margot.

Housing Minister Collin Croal meeting with residents during one of his visits in the field

“Any person(s) who enter, occupy or remain on those lands are trespassers and NICIL is hereby requesting that they immediately vacate and remove therefrom all erections or buildings constructed thereon forthwith,” the notice says, adding that all lawful steps will be taken if such persons do not comply with the order.
When contacted, newly-appointed interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICIL, Radha Krishna Sharma explained that the agency has received reports of squatters taking up residence on what is essentially NICIL property.
“The Ministry of Housing engaged the communities to let them know. Housing has to be looked at in a structured way. We just can’t have circumstances in which persons squat here and squat there. It has to be in a regulated manner.”
“So, the Ministry got involved, we got involved, because they’re not lands where you can just put up a (structure). There are 50,000 applications that they’re processing. Things have to be done in a legal manner so that the infrastructure can be put in place. In the best interests of communities, we can’t encourage this.”
This publication had previously reported that mass squatting was taking place in several villages along the East Coast of Demerara (ECD). Guyana Times understands several illegal structures were erected on Government reserves in Good Hope and Enmore, ECD.

Examples of squatting along the East Coast

Residents in the aforementioned areas told Guyana Times that persons from out of the areas have erected shacks along the reserves. In some cases, these shacks are erected in one day. A Government official when contacted told Guyana Times that this behaviour will not be tolerated and the matter will be addressed as soon as possible.
He noted that the Government has not authorised the grabbing of land in those communities. In 2015, there was a similar occurrence in Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD). The then APNU/AFC Government had also stated that no permission was given for squatters to take up Government reserves.
Last month, the Housing and Water Ministry also served Cummings Lodge/Sophia squatters with warning notices as it reiterated its zero-tolerance policy for the illegal act of squatting. In a statement, the Ministry said that it is urging persons to desist from illegally occupying State Lands. It noted that it has received reports of new structures being built on reserves within the Cummings Lodge/Sophia environs.
As a result, the enforcement arm of the Ministry served contravention notices to squatters of Cummings Lodge Phase 2, East Coast Demerara, Cummings Park, and the Section C Entrance.
According to the Ministry, these persons were not occupying the named locations at the time of the agency’s last inventory, which means they recently moved into the locations and started construction.
The Ministry had also said that the illegal occupation of State Lands at Cummings Lodge continues to hinder officials from carrying out the planned budgeted projects, and had appealed to the squatters to immediately cease all activities and allow the systematic allocation process to resume.
Since his appointment last month, Housing Minister Collin Croal has already made it clear that there would be a strict zero-tolerance policy against new squatting under the PPP/C Administration and that this Administration would be working towards ensuring existing squatters have a housing unit at the appropriate time.
Croal had disclosed that there was a backlog of some 68,000 housing applications, which he inherited from the APNU/AFC Government. He noted that the handling of house lot distribution saw new applications being favoured over existing ones thus contributing to the backlog.

 

Source: Guyana Times

14
Sep 20

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