RAMPS retreats from discrimination claim after warned of fine for submitting misleading info

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Trinidadian company RAMPS Logistics, which had alleged that they were being wrongly denied a Local Content Certificate and complained of “dark forces” in Guyana, has since climbed down from their stance after a letter was sent to them by the Local Content Secretariat detailing all the documents the company has still not submitted to qualify for the certificate.

The letter under the hand of Local Content Secretariat Director Martin Pertab, which was seen by this publication, reveals that RAMPS Logistics is still to submit an amended Articles of Incorporation or corresponding resolution proving that a Guyanese holds 51 per cent beneficial ownership of the company.

It is also yet to submit signed, filed and certified company resolutions or evidence of shares transfer to Deepak Lall, the Guyanese national that RAMPS claimed they sold the 51 per cent shares to. Their most recent annual return, which would have shown relevant information pertaining to this, was also not submitted.

“RAMPS Logistics only submitted a draft of an unsigned financial statement which still did not set out the total number of shares issued and who were allocated those shares. RAMPS Logistics submitted a (certified) Notice of Change of Directors… the initial submission contained information showing that only 40 per cent of the Board of Directors were Guyanese.”

“Deepak Lall was not on that list of Directors at that time. RAMPS Logistics resubmitted another Notice of Change of Directors which included Deepak Lall to increase the initial 40 per cent of Guyanese nationals to 60 per cent with 3 Guyanese nationals and 2 non-Guyanese nationals sitting in the executive management of RAMPS Logistics.”

According to the Local Content Act, for a company to be considered a Guyanese company, Guyanese must own 51 per cent voting rights and shares in the company.

Further, Guyanese must hold 75 per cent executive and senior management positions, and at least 90 per cent of non-managerial and other positions, as detailed in Section Two of the Act.

According to Pertab, the information submitted by the company fails to meet the 75 per cent threshold. All of the above, according to Pertab, led to RAMPS’ application for the certificate being refused. In the letter, RAMPS was also warned about submitting misleading information.

Summary conviction for such an offence under the Local Content Act carries a $10 million fine.

“An examination of the declaration of beneficial ownership dated March 30, 2022, and filed in the Commercial Registry, did not show the individual who has beneficial ownership in RAMPS Trinidad. Further, the information on the declaration was inconsistent for the place and date of birth of RAMPS Trinidad with information contained in the Articles of Incorporation of that company.”

“Your client is also reminded of the offences set out at Sections 6 (7) and 23 (2) and (3) (a) of the Act… (including) the offence of submitting any false or misleading information for the issuance of a certificate of qualification to be registered on a local content register,” Pertab also wrote.

Not long after the letter surfaced, RAMPS released a brief statement in which they acknowledged that the requests for information by the Local Content Secretariat was a reasonable one they were making efforts to comply with.

“A couple hours ago, we received a response from the Local Content Secretariat’s Director, Mr Martin Partab, detailing why RAMPS Logistics Guyana was denied entry into its Local Content Registry. The letter included reasonable documentation requests that our lawyers are already working on submitting.”

“We are grateful for the prompt response by the Secretariat since we held our press conference on June 23rd, 2022. We look forward to working together to promptly resolve this situation. RAMPS Logistics Guyana is committed to meeting all reasonable and lawful demands of the Secretariat,” the company further said, also expressing appreciation for everyone who echoed their sentiments and began a “critical discourse” on local content.

During a press conference on Wednesday, RAMPS Logistics Guyana Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shaun Rampersad had claimed that it followed all the requisite guidelines but Government denied its Local Content Certificate, via an “automated” email, without any explanation.

After revelations that the company was fined $20 million by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for violating local customs laws and failing to report a vessel it represents, departed Guyana, Rampersad then claimed that this matter was settled and that “dark forces” were conspiring against the company.