The Procedures and Processes of NICIL3138 17 Dec, 2012
Mr. Hinds: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for granting me permission to speak under the Right of Reply. We, the Member of the Government side, thought that we would not have replied, but that we would have listened to the closing remarks of the Hon. Member who introduced this motion. A lot of painful and hurtful things were said to this Government and I would assume that the Members from the other side would also hold that a lot of painful things were said, by this side, to them. We may say that all that we said are true and accurate but we accept that they too would feel pain.
In the course of the debate on this motion, there seems to be two general areas of debate. One is the procedures and processes of NICIL and, particularly, Mr. Ramjattan, in his closing statement, referred to those again and he exhibited that he did not pay attention to the presentation of the Minister of Finance who spoke exactly to the question he has raised. He raised the question about NICIL being both a private company and a public corporation and the Minister spoke to the issue where there is a clause in the Public Corporations Act which sets out a procedure where sections of the Act can be applied to companies such as NICIL. He also referred to an Order that was made, I think, in 2000 which established this. The issues of the procedures and processes of NICIL and of the Government, with respect to NICIL, and the way that Mr. Ramjattan was arguing should be taken to the court. These are matters that should be taken to the court. There is much more that I could say on it, but I would say on the question of procedures and processes, it is eminently a question to be taken to the court. That is one part.
The other part has to do with whether this is going to be a profitable venture or not, issues of accountability and making information public, and so on. Again, I think the Hon. Minister of Finance led in listing the number of occasions and documents that has been made public and laid even in this House, so that should not be an issue. We should realise that in the establishment of a hotel are commercial ventures such as this that there would be a lot of things that could not be laid publicly in this Parliament or publicly in our country at certain times. At the appropriate time, everything will be made public and I would like to recall that the Opposition Members have been invited to come and hear about it.
The question comes down to choice of development by the Government. Yes, I would agree that maybe APNU would not have invested in the Marriott Hotel. The AFC would not have invested in the Marriott Hotel, but that is not the issue. The issue here is that the Government, in its judgement, has made the judgement that an investment in the Marriott Hotel is a key investment for this country.
In terms of the criticism that we have chosen the high-end Marriott rather than the Marriott Courtyard, one has to look at what other countries have done; one has to look at the hotels which are available here in Guyana and see where we should fill in. The judgement is to fill in at the high level, to put in a Marriott Hotel in our situation. If we had put in a Marriott Courtyard, then many of our even local hotels could complain that we are competing with them. We are putting in a hotel at the top end.
I have seen the upgrade that has been initiated at the Pegasus Hotel and I have commended it. I think that there is no doubt that it is exquisite with what we have seen that it is doing so far and that is a good thing, but one hotel alone of the order of the Pegasus is not enough for the tourism sector that is being developed here in Guyana at this time.
The two issues on this matter are procedures and processes of NICIL, particularly with the Marriott Hotel project, I notice that the resolve clause, now number one, speaks to NICIL in its entirety. It takes the opportunity of wanting to close down NICIL in its entirety. It is deviated from the subject of the debate here which is about the Marriott Hotel project.
The second issue of this debate is on the choice in investment procedure. It is a Government choice and we accept that APNU would have done something else and that the AFC would have done something else but we could only honestly do what is our judgement. We cannot do APNU’s judgement or we cannot do AFC’s judgement.
There has been a lot of references to our garbage city. We have had thrown in the face of us Guyanese people in a manner which, to me, sounded like persons who are non Guyanese speaking about matters in Guyana. I do not think that we would speak of matters in our home in the way I have been hearing Members of the Opposition speaking about Georgetown being a garbage city, about our country being the most corrupt in the world. Comrades, even if those things are true and to the extent that they are true, I would expect…Let me not worry to speak of the Opposition; let me speak about us of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic. We keep faith in our country Guyana and in the people of Guyana and these challenges about a garbage city are things that we would work to change. We would work with the people of Guyana to change our garbage city. We would work with the people of Guyana to bring to an end – an absolute end – any possibilities of referring to us and our people as the most corrupt in the world. We would work with our people. [Interruption]
Mr. Speaker: Okay, Hon. Members. I cannot hear a word. I cannot hear a word and I would like to hear the Hon. Prime Minister completes his presentation.
Mr. Hinds: Mr. Speaker, I would end by submitting that anyone who supports these two resolve clauses… I would even want to take Mr. Harmon with me because Mr. Harmon’s presentation was that more information is needed. Mr. Harmon did not speak about closing down NICIL. He did not really speak about spending more money. He spoke about more information being needed and we have said and reiterated that in the circumstances of the need for confidentiality in a commercial operation at this time… The Minister reiterated the invitation by the President, to participate.
People, who are voting to support this motion, should be aware of what they are voting for. They are voting to block a development of the Government and that is their choice but that is what they should say: that they are voting to block this proposal by the Government. I say no more.
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