The challenge of ethical investing

Introduction Following this column’s review of the 2012 Annual Report on the Demerara Tobacco Company Limited in which I stated that I am a small shareholder (500 shares) in the company, a colleague of mine criticised me for profiting from a company whose product is now known to be a killer.

On the Line: Annual Report 2012 – Demerara Distillers Limited

Business Page

Introduction The conglomerate, Demerara Distillers Limited, which has as its flagship the world famous El Dorado rum, will be holding its annual general meeting next Friday April 26 when the directors will report on the performance and state of affairs of the parent company and its ten subsidiaries and one joint venture.

Keeping it in the Family

Business Page

Introduction: For decades, perhaps in some cases even close to a century, family businesses have formed the backbone of the Guyana economy.

Budget 2013 – Get ready to rumble

Business Page

Introduction I take these words not from Dr. Roger Luncheon who used it around the time of the Agricola protests but from the American boxing announcer who trademarked it.

Soul for sale

Business Page

Conclusion Introduction Well, Mr Brassington has done it again. Like he did to me over the Berbice River Bridge Company, he wanted me to hold back a column while he committed NIS money to the Berbice Bridge.

Soul for Sale – Part 3

Business page

Introduction Earlier this week I sent to Mr Winston Brassington, the head of Atlantic Hotel Inc, (AHI) the company financing the construction of the hotel complex a number of questions dealing mainly with the construction phase.

Soul for sale

Business Page

Part 2 Introduction In the first part of this article I wrote that I did not see a copy of the final contract between Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI) and SCG International (Trinidad and Tobago) Limited (SCG/the contractor) for the construction of the Kingston hotel property financed by the Government of Guyana, owned by AHI and proposed to be managed by and operated under the name of Marriott, the international hotel chain.

Soul for sale: The Marriott saga Part 1

Business page

Introduction The so-called Marriott Hotel, a scheme conceived by former President Bharrat Jagdeo − after one of his friends failed in his bid to buy the Guyana Pegasus – blessed by Mr Jagdeo’s successor President Ramotar, facilitated by Dr Ashni Singh, his Finance Minister and Chairman of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), executed by Mr Winston Brassington, NICIL’s CEO, and defended by political heavyweights like Drs Luncheon and Gopaul, puts in the shade the questionable transactions undertaken in the name of the people of Guyana since 1992.

Employee or independent contractor

Business Page

Introduction The quotation taken from a judgment of US Supreme Court Judge Wiley Blount Rutledge is as true today as when it was handed down in a case nearly seventy years ago.

Banks DIH Limited 2012

Business Page

I have always been perplexed why companies in Guyana consistently ignore one of the most important considerations among their shareholders.

The tragedy of NICIL: Act 2 Final

Business Page

Introduction Today I return to the article on NICIL (National Industrial & Commercial Investment Ltd) which I started two weeks ago but which I interrupted to conclude my 20th anniversary piece on the banking system.

Twenty years later

Business Page

Conclusion Today I return to and conclude the topic started on December 16, 2012 to mark the 20 year anniversary of Business Page.

The tragedy of NICIL – Act 1

Business Page

Introduction If NICIL – the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited – was a play, it would be one that challenges Othello and King Lear for the dubious distinction of saddest tragedy ever written. 

Twenty years later – Part 2

Christopher Ram - Business page

Correction, addition and appreciation In last week’s column I stated as the year in which the Government of Guyana took over the assets, liabilities and operations of the Royal Bank of Canada as 1994.

Clico and immunity

Introduction   Perhaps it is the constant stream of news coming out of Trinidad about Commissions of Enquiry, referring files to the Director of Public Prosecution or about police investigations in that country.

Things we have not noticed

Conclusion Introduction This week I continue to raise questions on matters we may not have noticed in areas of public finance and management in Guyana.

Things we have not noticed

Following, but not as a result of last week’s column addressing the parlous state to which Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon has brought the National Insurance Scheme, I had two very interesting conversations, one with a business leader and the other with an MP.

Obama and the fiscal cliff

Introduction Proving that true honeymoons are for first timers only, President Barack Obama returned the morning after the night before to his office/home at the White House and was immediately confronted with some of the immediate challenges he would face the second time round.

The danger of ignoring dangers – the NIS debacle

Introduction The Luncheonese in the heading is deliberate. Business Page of May 10 2009 wrote that the NIS faced real and disastrous consequences from Cabinet’s failure to act on the recommendations contained in the 2001 and 2006 Actuarial Reviews of the NIS.

Mid-Year 2012 Report shows mixed performance

Conclusion In the introduction to last week’s Business Page I pointed out that it was refreshing that the mid-year report was not only prepared within the statutory deadline but that the report was actually made public even before it was laid in the National Assembly which is presided over by the Speaker.

Clico liquidator lodges first Liquidation Statement

Conclusion Introduction Today completes a series on the liquidation process of the insurance giant that collapsed spectacularly in early 2009 after news came out of Trinidad and Tobago that the company’s parent had been taken over by that country’s central bank following a dramatic run on the company mainly by policyholders.

Clico Liquidator lodges first liquidation statement

Introduction This column is about Clico Life and General Insurance Company (South American) Limited (Clico), a regional insurance giant whose Guyana subsidiary collapsed spectacularly when Mr Ian Chang, Chief Justice appointed Mr Lawrence Williams, Governor of the Bank of Guyana to liquidate the company.

The economics of Linden and electricity rates – part 3

As with the first, the second installment of this column last week attracted a full length response from the Prime Minister Samuel Hinds which as far as I could understand pleaded with me “to help soothe anxiety about removing a historical subsidy.” I have no objection to doing so if Mr Hinds would share with me a copy of the Bosai Power Purchase Agreement and detailed information on the generation and distribution of electricity in Region 10.

The economic resources of Region 10

I apologise for the non-appearance of the column last week owing to travel commitments    Introduction It is now more than three weeks since what was intended as a five-day protest against the electricity hikes in the region took a dramatic turn for the worse on the very first day with the deaths of three protesters.

The economics of Linden and electricity rates

Region Ten is not a burden on, but rather a contributor to the state

Introduction In the 2012 Budget Speech, Dr Ashni Singh, Minister of Finance said: “Currently, in Linden, electricity costs between $5 and $15 per kWh, while on the GPL [Guyana Power and Light] grid customers pay an average of $64 perkWh.

No such thing as a free chow mein

Introduction No free chow mein. That was my first thought as I tried to interpret the words of Minister of Public Works and Communications Robeson Benn in relation to the airport expansion project that “we [meaning the government] had to enter into an agreement because we had a very narrow window in September where a Chinese Vice Premier came to the Caribbean with several billion dollars to fund projects and it was the only opportunity we had then to fund this undertaking.” Call it boldness, recklessness or madness, Mr Benn was honest in telling Guyanese how the country arrived at the decision to bind the people of the country with a debt of more than thirty billion dollars, in secrecy and without any feasibility study.

It is 0.01%, not 1%

Introduction I will start with a simple but stark statistic. My list shows that nought-point-nought one per cent (0.01%) of the Guyana population owns between 70 and 80 per cent of the private wealth of the country.

Hand-in-Hand Trust and the Brassingtons

Conclusion Introduction Today’s column completes a three-part article looking into the operations of this non-bank, deposit-taking financial institution as well as its murky relationship with the brother of a related party.

Hand-in-Hand Trust and the Brassingtons Part 2

Introduction Notwithstanding the caption of this article, the first part in last week’s Business Page dealt not with the Hand-in-Hand Trust Corporation Inc (HIHT/the company) but with Winston Brassington and his brother who Winston boasted had saved HIHT from the fate of Clico.

On the Line – Demerara Distillers Limited Annual Report 2011

Demerara Distillers Limited, a conglomerate group comprising several local and overseas companies with manufacturing, trading, banking and trust relationships in Guyana, the region, North America and Europe as well as a joint venture in India and associated companies in Guyana and Jamaica, will be holding its annual general meeting this coming Friday, April 27.