I wish to state from the outset that I believe His Excellency, (Ret’) Brigadier President David Arthur Granger outside of politics, is an absolute gentleman and a good human being. I have had no reservations about telling him this in the past, in writing it openly in the media, or expressing it to him personally. I am simply writing because the Government has had a substantial sum owing to our company for a number of years (some of the debts from the previous Government would have rolled over) and they seem bent on not wanting to pay what is long overdue.
I had written his Excellency after writing the Permanent Secretaries and Ministers in the Ministries and receiving no response. During that period we were never given any indication that the matter was being pursued. In my experience, when writing the President, his responses always come very quickly and with his signature affixed which impresses and astounds my mind. In his letter sent to me on (2016.09.06), he carbon copied it to the Minister of Communities for necessary action. However the Minister never responded despite several calls, letters and emails from my secretariat. On another matter, the President copied his reply to the Minister of Finance and stated that this Minister would respond and handle the important matter. To date, the Minister of Finance has not written our company. This is causing a terrible financial strain on us as the Government has a way of owing monies but not wanting to pay interest on the amount. However due to our managerial experience, we have been able to survive functioning at a loss over the years.
Nonetheless, as a contractor, I am committed by law to pay my workers irrespective of if we are paid or not. How is our business expected to survive? At certain times the regions and other ministries would have caused delays in our payments forcing us into an overdraft which had to be repaid at an expensive interest rate. Added to that, whenever a year passes and we are not paid by the end of that year, it is referred to as “previous years” and this becomes a matter for the court and parties must wait until the end of the next year to resolve payment.
At this juncture, we are owed tens of millions of dollars. Our company being obligated by law has had to continue paying PAYE, NIS deductions for our workers and we have paid VAT where applicable. Our quarterly taxes, licensing fees etc. have all been honoured.
Below is a table showing the sums owed to us:
RK’s Guyana Security Services, through me as their representative would have obtained two judgments on the 4th November, 2016 and 31st March, 2016 respectively: Action No. 587-C/D of 2015 and Action No. 1305-C/D of 2015. Recent letters were written by our Attorney-at-Law, Mr. K.A Juman-Yassin on the 3rd January, 2017 and 2nd May, 2017 to the Attorney General advising him of the judgments and that payments should have been forthcoming. Unfortunately, no response was ever received; this encompasses an acknowledgement of our correspondences. Our Attorney would have sent copies of these letters to the President and the Minister of Finance.
In my opinion, it appears that the Government seems only willing to pay judgments and outstanding debts to the local and foreign multi-billion dollar corporations. This is referenced to cases involving DDL, BK Group of Companies, Rudisa Beverages and others. All of which the Government settled and issued compensation.
The biggest travesty is that non-payment of these monies would have forced us to give up our regional contracts causing approximately 400 workers to be sent home earlier this year in March. If this continues, our business may be headed into a further slump and more workers and their families affected. While we recognize that the Government has a major responsibility in servicing the entire nation, they must realize that the financial burdens faced by tax compliant, honourable companies like ours are greater when compared to other companies who evade, avoid and scamp taxes, and their workers. Budget 2018 is expected to be read, debated and hopefully passed soon which should provide the Government with the opportunity to make provisions for payments of these judgments. (If it was not done before.)
This writer would have decided to make this public with a view that these matters could be settled before hitting the corridors of the courts and also any picketing exercise at the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of the Presidency. I took this opportunity to comment on these issues before they are court activated and I become restricted by sub judice. Governments need to pay their debts and Governments need to respect the decision of the court. Our company had tried to avoid embarrassing the Government, as we are a professional security service operating in the public service for many decades.
It is unfortunate that the entire process has been stymied due to what I view as negligence and unwillingness by certain senior officers in Government, over the years. One can only hope that this Government will recognize their part in this and move to rectify the situation.
Roshan Khan Snr.
RK’s Guyana Security Services