LETTER: Bulkan needs to educate himself on Guysuco’s financial history

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Dear Editor,

I wish to respond to a letter by Mr. Ronald Bulkan, Minister of Communities, in which he accused me of making baseless statements in relation to the government’s payment to BK International of more than $1B on a mere letter threatening litigation.

Let me say that my statement was based on an article in the “Kaieteur News” of August 23, 2016. The front page headline read “Government pays BK US$5.7M on a simple threat.”

The article quotes Mr. Bulkan as the source for the headline. It was an interview done with Mr. Bulkan by the reporter. The article also carried Mr. Bulkan’s photograph.

Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan

Mr. Bulkan never denied the story nor ever asked Kaieteur News to retract it. Naturally, one must presume that the article was accurate. After Mr. Bulkan’s letter, I raised the matter with the editor of the Kaieteur News and he assured me that the newspaper will hold steadfast to their story.

It is, therefore, clear that it is the Minister who is uttering untruths in foolishly denying what he said, when the same can be so easily confirmed or proven. I hope that the new Code of Conduct, which was promised for Ministers, will address the issue of Ministers, publically, peddling half truths and even downright lies.

Mr. Bulkan went on to point out what was the basis for the huge payment to BK International.

That is not the issue at hand Mr. Bulkan is attempting to obfuscate. While in government, I was aware of those figures. The issue is that BK International breached the agreement several times. The PPP/C terminated the contract and requested BK International to vacate the site. The PPP/C Government felt that it was BK International that was liable and should pay the Government instead.  We were ready to sue BK for compensation.

It was this APNU regime that quickly rolled over and gave BK International a huge payment. This settlement and many others which this Government has concluded are believed by many to be tainted with rampant corruption.

Mr. Bulkan took the opportunity to castigate me about Guysuco’s difficulties. Here again, he is displaying a huge gap in his knowledge of what is happening at Guysuco, or if he knows, he has chosen to be dishonest on the issue.

I mentioned before that Guysuco’s problems began when the price of sugar received from the EU fell by 36% in 2010. The PPP/C government was investing in the industry to deal with the new reality.  Our plan was working as could be seen in the 2015 production.

Had the PPP/C not been cheated out of office, Wales would not have been closed and Rose Hall would not be threatened with closure.

The industry has huge potentials in value added products. This regime refuses to go in that direction and is closing the industry instead. This is a decision that will haunt this country for generations to come.

Mr. Bulkan should be one of the last persons to speak or refer to anyone’s ability to manage. After all, he ran his own business into bankruptcy.

His pique with the PPP/C administration was because the government did not accede to their request for a bail out of some three hundred million dollars. The PPP/C government felt it could not use taxpayers’ money in that fashion

He is with the APNU now maybe because they don’t care how taxpayers’ dollars are squandered and used to give the elite huge salaries and allowances.

As a gentleman, I expect Mr Bulkan to own up to his words and not seek to hide from them.

Donald Ramotar

Former President

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