Gov’t to move to France’s Int’l Chamber of Arbitration to retain over $1B owed by Panama for rice
The government will soon move to the International Chamber of Arbitration in France to recover over $1 billion owed by the government of Panama to the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) for rice sold to the country.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, made the disclosure on Tuesday evening, during his weekly programme ‘Issues in the News’.
It was under the APNU+AFC Administration that a flawed deal was made with the Panamanian government, for the supply of some 9,000 tonnes of rice through the GRDB.
However, when the rice was delivered, it was credited to the country that now owes Guyana over $1 billion.
“Our government now is forced to file proceedings at the International Chamber of Arbitration in France to recover this debt … monies have to be expended to retain international lawyers, to prosecute and defend these claims,” the Attorney General lamented.
Upon assumption to office, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture committed to recovering the monies owed and has tried several avenues including through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to retain the monies owed; however, this has proven unsuccessful.
In fact, rice millers have filed legal proceedings in the High Court against the GRDB to have the agency pay monies for the rice that was sold to the Panamanian government.
“These are farmers who delivered their rice to the rice board as instructed by the government of the day, the government of the day boasted that they secured a new market for rice, sold and delivered the rice farmers’ rice and the millers’ rice on credit and never attempted to recover any payment,” Minister Nandlall pointed out.