Gov’t seeking `letters of interest’ in sugar estates

Via a Special Purpose Unit (SPU), the government holding company, NICIL is inviting `Letters of Interest’ in the privatisation and/or diversification of the Skeldon, Rose Hall, Wales and East Demerara `Enmore’ sugar estates.

In advertisements this week, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL)  says it is acting on behalf of the Government of Guyana and the letters of interest would be a first step in the process of “finding/shortlisting interested individuals or entities of all construct with an interest in any one of, combination of, or the group of estates/factories mentioned”.

It said that in order to boost transparency, the SPU is partnering with a suitably qualified international professional financial services firm to provide technical and financial advisory support in the process. It didn’t name the firm.

The advertisement said that in the letters of interest, the applicants should demonstrate “experience, aptitude and capacity in relation to their intent”. The applicants must also indicate their intended business model, estate/estates interested in and an estimated timeline for completing the transaction.

Letters of interest should not exceed five single space pages and should contain a brief description of the proposed investment entity and developer.

The deadline for the submission of the letters of interest is November 3rd at 3 pm.  The letters have to be deposited at NICIL in Kingston.

Since entering office, the APNU+AFC government has not presented a coherent plan on the future of the heavily indebted sugar industry. It convened a commission of inquiry which recommended against closing any estate. However, in January 2016, the government announced the closure of the Wales estate as of December 2016. It then later signalled that Skeldon, Rose Hall and Enmore would also be on the chopping block.

The government made numerous promises on the diversifying of Wales but these have all fallen apart as evidenced by the inclusion of Wales in the current offering.

The fate of thousands of sugar workers will hang in the balance and the government has been pressed to ensure that any restructuring of the industry will preserve as many of these jobs as possible.

Last month, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon announced that Calvis London will head the SPU.

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