BY SHARIEF KHAN
GUYANA and the Reynolds transnational bauxite company yesterday signed an agreement paving the return of the American firm here on a 50-50 joint venture with government.
Details of the ‘heads of agreement’ signed by Reynolds President, Randolph Reynolds and Deputy Prime Minister, Haslyn Parris, were not immediately available.
Reynolds however called it ‘a marriage in the sense that we are going to be working together, sharing benefits and we are in the process of bringing finance and investment here to improve the cash flows.’
The Reynolds firm will be returning to the Berbice bauxite operations which it once owned. The assets were nationalised at the beginning of 1975 and the company chief said the agreement reached demonstrated Reynolds confidence in the industry here and ‘the good atmosphere for doing business here.’
Parris told reporters at the signing ceremony at Bidco headquarters yesterday, ‘we are talking about a fifty-fifty company.’ Reynolds said the two sides have agreed to study how they could work together for their mutual benefit. ‘It has to be of benefit to both parties and could include renovation or further investment in existing facilities and also, possibly new products’, Reynolds said.
The company last year began on a US$26m plan to develop the Aroaima mine in Berbice and Reynolds says it should be shipping bauxite soon.
The Americans will also be marketing bauxite from the mine which is expected to produce about 2.6 million metric tons annually. The Reynolds President said his company had about US$40m in shipping and bauxite investments here.
Asked if government was handing back the Berbice bauxite operations to Reynolds, Parris hedged. He said, ‘what you have just seen is something that says, look, they have interest in the bauxite industry in a transnational, international sense. We have got interest in both that sense and a national sense and we proceed and by co-operating, both of us can achieve our objectives. In that context I don’t think that the concept of handing over and so on is an appropriate kind of concept to be used.’
The Deputy Prime Minister, whose Planning Ministry is playing a central role in the drive to attract foreign investors here, said the Reynolds accord was another step in government’s divestment and investment programme.
Government sources who billed the agreement with Reynolds ‘a significant step forward’ said the Canadian ALCAN bauxite firm is due here for further talks on taking a stake in the Linden operations of Guymine.
Sources say ALCAN could follow the Reynolds move by going for a similar 50-50 deal in Linden.
The Reynolds head and his team Monday looked over the shut-down Linden alumina plant but yesterday was unable to say if the company was interested in getting it going again.
President Hoyte is expected to discuss these issues with managers and workers when he visits Linden today.
“Pirate” Alexander-A Past Great Athlete
WHEN the Amateur Athletic Association held the 1989 Presentation of Awards Ceremony, one of the recipients of the International Amateur Athletic Federation medals on its 75th Anniversary was Joseph Pirate’ Alexander.
Every sporting fan of 20 or 30 years ago will know ‘Pirate’ Alexander but the youngsters of today may pass him by. ‘Pirate’ Alexander is one of the old school athletes who liked athletics and games and devoted all his energy in order to do well.
Born in Georgetown, Alexander attended the now defunct Albouystown R.C. School and later Queen’s College where his athletic quality came to the fore. As a young athlete, events never bothered him. He recalls that in an Annual Boys’ Scout Meeting he won the 100 yards, the 220 yards, the 440 yards, the 880 yards, the long jump and helped his pack to win the tug-a-war. He led his house at Queen’s College in sports while working towards his Oxford and Cambridge Certificates.
On leaving school, his love and skill for football developed and he joined the Infantry — the Local Forces and came under the discipline of I.R.B, Robinson. He continued in athletics helping the Local Forces to win the military sports against the police. He remembers defeating P.C. Koulen who was one of the leading middle distance runners in the country.
It was Berkely Gaskin of revered memory who advised him to specialise in one sports discipline and suggested the middle distance race. Alexander’s greatest thrill was his defeat at Bourda of Parkinson, the Trinidad champion in one of his early international competitions.
Though he did not represent Guyana abroad in Athletics, he did so in football playing in the half back line. He holds treasured memories playing for Guyana in the Martinez Shield in Trinidad in 1932 with such Guyanese stars as I.R.B. Robinson, Angoy, Carlos Fernandes, Frank Denbow and Richard Weekes.
‘Pirate’ Alexander served as administrator in several sports organisations. He was Secretary of the A.A.A. and Cycle Union, of the Malteenoes Sports Club, of the Amateur Boxing Association and of the G.F.A. Junior Council. He shared in the establishment of the Rangers Athletic Club and the Salem Boxing Gym. He also managed the Guyana teams to the Texaco Games in Trinidad and to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico.
‘Pirate’ Alexander has been a private school teacher for several years. He assisted many students to pass their examinations as well as many athletes to gain scholarships abroad. Alexander is of the view that the level and quality of athletics in Guyana can be improved and this would to a large measure depend on the zeal and efficiency of the administrators.
Money For People’s Parade Raises Storm
A PROPOSAL for the City Council to spend $75,000 to participate in this year’s People’s Parade sparked a lively debate in the City Council Monday — with some Councillors confusing this event with Mashramani 1990.
The old Council had decided in November 1989 to participate in the People’s Parade and the National Costume Competition. In 1989 the Council spent $55,600 on the People’s Parade.
Councillor Barrow who is responsible for the council’s purse strings, warned that ‘if everybody including the Central Government fails to recognise the Council’s financial position this time … let us all pack up and leave…’ According to Mr. Barrow the Council’s revenue base has totally out lived its usefulness.
He said when the last Council took over three years ago, the task was not to maintain a City but to reconstruct one.
The Chairman of the Finance Committee said he is very scared about what would come out of the Council’s 1990 budget which is still being prepared.
While not against the Council’s participation in such events he added, this must be done with the minimum of expenditure, since the Council should not be seen by the taxpayers to be spending their money willy-nilly.
Councillor Samuel Moffatt, who had first thought the $75,000 being sought was for Mashramani expressed favour in the Council’s participation, adding that Mash is one of the foremost national events.
But when told that the money was for the People’s Parade, Mr. Moffatt was not so supportive. Councillor Jose da Silva described the request as a waste of time, while newcomer Victor Fitt wanted Deputy Mayor Herbert Harper who presided at Monday’s statutory meeting to give more details on what the People’s Parade is all about and the involvement of the Council. Councillor Hugh Chan, one of the old-stagers from the last Council, said flatly…‘we should not take part…let’s be realistic…we do not have the money to pay our labourers…how can we spend $75,000 on the People’s Parade.’ Putting things into perspective the Town Clerk Gladstone Fawcett said the money is for purchasing jerseys and refreshments.
The request is to be reviewed before permission is granted for any expenditure on the event.