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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its most recent assessment of Guyana urged Government to seriously consider improving how it goes about structuring its public-private partnership (PPP) deals for large-scale projects.Former President, Bharrat JagdeoThis is the specific model introduced by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) that has come under increased scrutiny and criticism, given the fact that it sees Government putting huge sums of money into projects,Jerseys NFL Wholesale, but the ownership and control find its way into the hands of a private people and companies.This practice has also seen government not even receiving a penny on its investment so that the private individuals hog millions each year.Take for example the Berbice River Bridge which opened its gates to vehicular traffic in December 2008. This project has been extensively analyzed by the likes of Financial Analyst, Christopher Ram. That bridge was built using the now infamous public-private partnership model.The Berbice River Bridge and approach roads cost $9.9B to construct and the money was raised through loans to the extent of $6.8B and investments to the tune of $3.1B. The taxpayers/Government of Guyana made 90 per cent of the investment share in the Berbice Bridge.Government’s share of the direct investment was $2.7B and the other private investors placed $320M. Despite this, the board of the Berbice Bridge is controlled by the private investors, meaning government literally had no say in running the affairs of the bridge.It was only recently that Gillian Burton was appointed a director on the board on behalf of Govt. while the five other directors are private sector officials.Bharrat Jagdeo’s best friend, ‘Bobby’ RamroopThe Government provided the land on which the approach roads have been built. It paid $100M compensation to displaced residents and then built the road at a cost of $1.7B. It then invested $950M more through the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).The private investors at the time were the New GPC owned by Bharrat Jagdeo’s best friend, Dr Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop; Hand in Hand CEO and Winston Brassington’s business partner, Keith Evelyn; CLICO (Guyana) headed by Geeta Singh-Knight; the Beharry Group, Demerara Contractors Limited and the National Insurance Scheme.New GPC invested $80M; NIS $80M; CLICO $80M; Beharry Group,$80M; Hand in Hand, $40M and Demerara Contractors $40M.When CLICO later collapsed and had to be liquidated,NHL Jerseys Authentic, it sold its shares to Ramroop’s New GPC.NICIL, which is headed by Brassington decided that he would waive collecting dividends on the $950M. This means that to date the taxpayers/Government have not received any returns on the investment, given that each year the dividends is paid out only to the private investors.The Government had also banned all cars, minibuses and other small vehicles from using the Berbice Ferry and forced all persons to use the bridge. This was done to ensure that the bridge makes a profit to pay those private investors. The toll for a vehicle to cross that Bridge is twenty-two times the cost for crossing the Demerara Harbour Bridge.Taxpayers have been literally robbed of over $104M each year so that those private investors can rake in their profits.The Private Sector Commission (PSC) recently sought to argue that the bridge is majority owned by private companies and said that NIS is an institutional investor which acquired the shares held by NICIL.Head of NICILWinston BrassingtonRam had challenged this position and asked if “the PSC truly believe that being an “institutional investor” in the Bridge Company alters the legal nature and status of the NIS? And does it not agree that following the sale, the NIS now owns 76 per cent of the issued shares in the company? The PSC refuses to acknowledge that the National Insurance Scheme is government-controlled.”The public was never informed as to when, how and for how much these shares were transferred.Another glaring example of how Government is putting in large sums of money to benefit private hands is the Marriott Hotel under construction in Kingston.That project again features Winston Brassington at the centre of its development, with NICIL again investing a significant amount of the money.NICIL has already spent US$19.5M on the $58M project. This is made up of a US$15.5M loan and an investment of US$4M.Brassington formed a company named Atlantic Hotel Inc (AHI) to build and own the hotel.The US$4M invested as equity by NICIL gives it 33 per cent ownership. A still to be named private investor will be putting in a total of US$8M out of the entire US$58M and will be the majority owner. This is so because NICIL classifies its US$15.5M as a loan and not an investment. What this means is that a total of US$12M owns the entire US$58M project, with the private individual putting US$8M and owning the majority of the projectBrassington approached Republic Bank in Trinidad and Tobago to source the remaining US$27M which will be reflected as ‘syndicated loan’ that will take priority when it comes to repayment.Another controversial deal that was proposed for the public-private partnership is the almost US$1B Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project. The Guyana Government had said that it was investing US$100M as equity and also provided a guarantee of repayment for all of the loans.Of that figure,Cheap Baseball Jerseys China, US$20M was earmarked for the Amaila Falls Access Road.The price tag was eventually revised to more than US$40M with the main contributing factor being the failure of Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall to complete the road.The entrance to the Berbice River BridgeChina Development Bank had committed to lending in excess of US$400M to the project, while the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had been approached to loan US$175MSithe Global had promised to invest just over US$150M and would have been the majority owner of the almost US$1B hydro electric plant.In addition to the equity and guarantees for the loan, leaked confidential documents had also revealed a number of other financial commitments on the part of the Guyana Government through the Guyana Power and Light Inc.The leaked documents outlined that Government had in fact committed US$157.2M to the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, US$57.2M more than the US$100M that it has been maintaining all along.This meant that the Governmen,t apart from investing more than Sithe Global and providing the guarantees for the loans, would have still handed ownership of the project to the private company.This information was contained in the ‘Confidential Project Document’ leaked to this publication. According to the project document for the Hydro Electric Plant,Jerseys From China, in 2014 and 2015 the Government has, under its ‘financial commitment’ to the project,Cheap NFL Jerseys, committed  US$21M to be paid each year from its Fund for Special Operations (FSO).The Fund for Special Operations has been set up by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and extended to several countries, including Guyana, which sees the bank making concessionary loans.The Guyana Government is currently gearing to embark on yet another mega project and has opted to use the same debt and equity financial structure utilizing a public-private partnership as was the case with the Berbice Bridge, the Marriott Hotel and the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project.Government is currently inviting ‘expressions of interest’ from “local and foreign parties interested in being a Partner in the design, construction and Financing of the New Demerara River Bridge.”In the call for partners, Government said that the project will be implemented using a Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) model, “in a manner similar to the Berbice Bridge.”According to the Government, the responses received from the call for expressions of interest will be used to guide the selection of a partner or partners who will work with government to design and implement the project.The project will see NICIL creating a special purpose company, “financed by debt and equity contributions following a public/private partnership model.”Will this be another arrangement where Government will put in the bulk of the money but will hand ownership to a private individual?
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