Skeldon factory ‘secret deal’ rumours misleading – Trotman

GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, January 19, 2017

Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman told media operatives today at a post Cabinet press briefing that the government has not entered into a ‘secret deal’ to sell the Guyana Sugar Cooperation (GuySuCo) Skeldon Factory. Trotman reiterated that relevant stakeholders have been duly notified of Cabinet’s position with regards to the future of the Skeldon Estate and Factory.

Minister Trotman refuted claims of potential sale of the Skeldon factory and considered them false and therefore, “should not be repeated or peddled so it is just a MoU to conduct a feasibility study, there is nothing here that signs the assets away but it is just meant to conduct a study.”

An aerial view of the Skeldon Sugar Factory in Corentyne, Berbice

Trotman was questioned on the Memorandum of Understanding  (MoU) that was signed between the Government of Guyana and D. Rampersaud and Company Limited (DRCL), a consultancy firm based in Trinidad and Tobago to undertake feasibility studies for other sugar processing activities.

“There is no such thing as a “secret deal”. This matter has been shared with the Parliamentary Opposition, with GuySuCo, of course with the Unions representing workers of GuySuCo and copies were made available by (the) government so it is not true to say that it has been hidden.” Minister Trotman explained.

The Minister said that the government was not aware of summoning members of the Opposition to be witnesses as it enters in to any MoU since it is simply just an MoU. However, Trotman noted that copies of this document can be made available as no ‘confidentiality clause’ has been attached.

Trotman explained that, “I have no doubt that the Ministry of Business will not object to the document being released, there is no confidentiality clause to it but if I could just quote from what it says, it just says that, “the parties agree that this MoU constitutes a strategic liaison between the company and Go-Invest, intended to formulate and facilitate the development of a feasibility study for an integrated sugarcane processing facility for GuySuCo assets and related assets in Skeldon, Guyana.”

A recent newspaper article has headlined that a ‘Secret deal for Skeldon Estate takeover revealed.’ The article reads “The MoU was signed without full disclosure to the Guyanese public and without public notice and tender.” Cabinet stated that this statement is mischievous.

By: Delicia Haynes