I read with absolute shock the blazing and bold headlines in the Guyana Chronicle, on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, ‘Tracking the Money… Sleepin boss, associates snared in money laundering probe… SOCU tells Gaming Authority investigation on since 2016’. Any person with any modicum of common sense would quickly realise that there was a special effort and a deliberate intent to sensationalise that story in the Chronicle, having regard to the size of the headlines, the photographs and the bold blurb on the front page. I am absolutely bewildered by all of this.
From the article, I learnt for the first time that I, my company “and a number of associates are subjects of a money laundering investigation being conducted by SOCU which is ongoing since July 2016.” SOCU has never made any contact with me, to date, whatsoever. As far as I am aware, SOCU has not made contact with any person close to me in relation to the Sleepin International Hotel and Casino Inc.
It is public knowledge that Sleepin International Hotel and Casino Inc has made an application to the Gaming Authority, under the law, for a casino licence. That application is currently being processed. The Gaming Authority has requested some additional financial information. Efforts are underway to provide the requested information. The Gaming Authority is scheduled to conduct a site visit on the 16th of August 2017.
The documents which I have submitted to the Gaming Authority clearly establish the source of my financing: loans from local commercial banks secured by mortgages, along with monies from an overseas investor secured by loan agreements and mortgages. These documents are all filed as of record with the Deeds and Commercial Registry Authority. Copies have been submitted to the Gaming Authority. If SOCU requires them, I will gladly supply copies to them. However, as I indicated above, they have never made contact with me.
In the circumstances, it is clear to me, that some highly placed person in government is executing a vendetta against me with the intention of tarnishing my reputation, stigmatizing my business and jeopardizing my investments. I am fortified in this view because the government’s newspaper is being used to do it.
What this person or persons do not understand is that they are doing untold damage to the image of this country as an investment destination. After all, which investor will want to invest in a country in which they will be exposed to this level of embarrassment, trauma and reputational damage? I hope that this person does not represent the position of the entire government. For if this is the position of the government, then they should simply make it clear that private investments are not welcome in this land, and that they are uninterested in job creation, rather than subject investors to denigration and public humiliation.