Customs House for sale

The Government of Guyana acting through its controversial agent, NICIL has advertised the former Customs House on Main Street for sale. Tenders have to be submitted no later than March 7th,  2014.

An advertisement of the sale appeared in today’s Guyana Chronicle.  The prime spot is described as Sub Lot `A’ of Lot 34 Main & Hope Streets, South Cummingsburg. It sits on 0.382 of an acre of land.

There has been much speculation over the fate of the building from which customs transactions were conducted for decades under the Customs and Excise Department and later the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Interested persons must register with the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited and pay a registration fee of $3,000. Upon registration the following will be provided: tender procedures, a letter of authority to visit the property, form of tender, copy of the survey plan and ownership documents, draft agreement of sale, general information and description of property.

The old Customs House (Stabroek News file photo)
The old Customs House (Stabroek News file photo)

The advertisement said that arrangements to visit the property can be arranged via NICIL on telephone number 225-0317/9.

Tenders for the purchase have to be submitted no later than March 7th, 2014 at 2 pm addressed to the Executive Director, NICIL, 126 Barrack Street, Kingston. The ad carries the usual rider that neither the government nor NICIL is bound to accept the highest or any bid.

Previous sales of prime state property via NICIL have attracted controversy, notably the former Sanata Textiles complex at Industrial Site, Ruimveldt.

The transferral of state property into NICIL’s control and its handling of the proceeds of sales have attracted  strong criticisms in the past from several analysts including chartered accountant, Christopher Ram and former Auditor General, Anand Goolsarran. It has been argued that the proceeds should go straight to the Consolidated Fund.

In September last year, Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn had told Stabroek News  that his ministry had possession of Customs House on Main Street after the GRA relocated to its Camp Street Complex last year.

Benn at that time had said that there were no plans to sell the three-storey edifice and it was likely that it would be put into use by another Government ministry. He had said however that this has not been decided as yet.


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