GNPL used T&T company to print text books as local printers didn’t have capacity

Dear Editor,

With reference to Kaieteur News (KN) articles dated May 1, May 3, May 5 and May 8, 2019, we –  the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Guyana National Printers Limited (GNPL) – find these articles dishonest, malicious, reckless and to some extent libellous reporting on the part of the KN.

For several years GNPL was operating in the red. In 2015, when a new dynamic Board of Directors was appointed, they took this albatross and steered the course of this once flourishing state entity back to its glory days.

For many years also, GNPL was contracted by the Ministry of Education to supply exercise books for use by public schools in Guyana. In 2018 after the new board ramped up its marketing and sales opportunities, the company received a contract to supply textbooks to the Ministry of Education (MOE) for the first time in decades. All text books were ordered directly by the MOE, either from the printers in Trinidad, or local suppliers –many of whom order the supplies from Port of Spain. This was obvious, as most or all of the local printers did not have the capacity to supply the large orders.

GNPL over the years has always supplied exercise books to the Ministry of Education. As part of the exercise books contract, GNPL received orders to supply checkered line books as well. Because of old equipment and consistent delays, the company in an effort to meet the deadlines of providing the books to schools ordered the checkered line books on a sub-contractual basis from Trinidad. This arrangement continued up until 2017.

In 2017, Kaieteur Books Inc., a sister company of Kaieteur News which by now had the capacity to print the checkered line books, was given the orders by GNPL to print the books locally, even though this was at a higher cost than if the order was sub-contracted to Trinidad. This decision was taken inspite of it being done at a cost to GNPL. The decision however, was based on the fact that a local company had developed the capacity to do the job, and the Board of Directors wanted to ensure that the printing was done locally, since the ability to have it printed here was now available.

Editor, to date GNPL continues to share the printing of the checkered line books with Kaieteur Books Inc. However, they are unable to provide a complete product (inclusive of Quality Control and Packaging) to hand over to the Ministry of Education. GNPL has to complete the job before delivery to the Ministry of Education. There is no doubt therefore, that the Kaieteur Books Inc. is a sub-contractor for GNPL.

In 2017, GNPL received a loan from the Government to purchase and enhance its capacity to provide a reliable and efficient service to its customers, including its biggest one – the Ministry of Education.

It is no secret that the Ministry of Education, in the past, did contract a Trinidadian company to print the majority of their text books because the capacity to do it locally was not available. Therefore there was great excitement and expectations to have that business come back to Guyana since we were on the verge of having our press up and running. Unfortunately, we encountered some early electrical issues and were faced with the challenge of meeting our deadline for the Ministry of Education. In our efforts to avoid any disruptions of the delivery of the books, GNPL contacted the local companies we felt had the capacity to print the books including Kaieteur Books Inc.

Many of the large local printers did not have the capacity. Those that did express interest to print were unable to commit to competitive prices and suggested that we were underpricing the Ministry of Education. Therefore, in order to meet the 2018 deadline as requested by the Ministry of Education, and since we could not print locally, GNPL reverted to the Trinidad Company for the printing of the text books. We at GNPL were saddened in having to make this decision. But as a business, and in order to maintain our responsibility to the Ministry of Education and by extension the school children around the country, we were forced to go that route.

Since these developments, GNPL has continued to produce and satisfy the orders for exercise books for the Ministry of Education and all of our customers, and are also putting systems in place to correct the challenges we had, and can assure we will be ready to print the orders for books for the upcoming academic year.

Finally Editor, one wonders what has motivated Kaieteur News’ committed and continuous efforts to tarnish the integrity and hard work of the GNPL team to turn the company around.

Rather than focus on sensationalizing and peddling misinformation, Kaieteur News should focus on how the state owned printers has turned itself around and returned to a position of prosperity providing competitive products and services. This would be a truly inspirational story for many struggling companies in Guyana.

We are very grateful to the Government of Guyana for the much needed loan which afforded us the opportunity to turn the company around and we have already commenced repayment of that loan. We are also thankful for the Government of Guyana’s commitment and continued support in the form of print business.

We, the Board of Directors, Management and Staff, are committed to moving GNPL to its once respected and productive state.

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Bassoo

for

Guyana National Printers

Limited

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