President won’t rule out probe of any deal

President Donald Ramotar says that he is not prepared to rule out any probe into investment deals, including the Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QA11) transaction, even as he vouches for his Government’s transparency.

“I am not closing my mind to anything. We have already given out all contracts for the deals [mentioned],” he said, speaking at a press conference held at the Office of the President on Friday.

Over the last few weeks, Opposition parties have had Government in the crosshairs, accusing the administration of secrecy and non-transparency with regard to large investment and infrastructure deals, such as the Amaila Hydro project, the Marriott Hotel deal and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport extension.

“Every single thing that this Government has done can stand public scrutiny. All the privatisation that we have done, they were published, they were advertised, they were done transparently,” he said.

He said that except in instances where confidentiality is required, the Government would be releasing all documents pertaining to projects.

“You have to understand negotiations too. In the process there are periods of time when you need confidentiality. But those times are finished I would have no problem in making any of these documents available,” he said.

He also pointed out that a lot of project documents, even during the Ninth Parliament have been tabled in the National Assembly.

The President was asked whether Government was of the mind to dispose of its 20 percent shares in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T).

“We still have the 20 percent shares. Whether we keep it or privatise it, it will be my judgement in what would be the best interest of this country to do. I will make that decision and that consideration when the time comes for me to do so,” he said.

“I am not saying I will keep [them] nor am I saying I will dispose of [them]. But what will guide me would what would be in the best interest of this country,” he said.

Further, the President said that the Government has had to get involved in the Marriott deal in order to get the project off the ground.

He called it a vital project for the country and noted that when the time comes Government would be making the necessary decisions on the issue of the return on its investment. “We have some stake in that project so we will decide, as we will decide [how we treat] the GT&T shares,” the President said.

The government’s holding company National Industrial and Commercial Investment Ltd (NICIL) is to invest US$19 million in the project.

NICIL will provide US$4 million in equity and invest US$15 million in subordinate loan stocks for the controversial project. This is according to Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh.

Asked about NICIL, the President said that that entity has done nothing illegal by disposing of assets and holding on to the proceeds rather than transferring them to the Consolidated Fund.

“NICIL has not done anything illegal…nothing illegal,” the President said.

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