Oct 23 (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian)—Chairman of Ramps Logistics Guyana Shaun Rampersad believes that “dark forces” in the Guyanese private sector want him out of the country.
However, he encourages companies from T&T and the international business community to continue to invest in Guyana as it is a country with a lot of potential.
In August, Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali visited T&T and invited the business community to invest in Guyana, the region’s fastest-growing economy.
Rampersad is due to return to a magistrate’s court in Guyana on November 25, after he was released on Guyanese half a million dollars bail on ten charges of false declarations made over the past two years to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
“I think Guyana is a lovely place and there is enlightened leadership with the present Government of Irfaan Ali. But there are powerful dark forces in the private sector. I suspect what we are going through has to do with elements of the Guyanese private sector who have for a long time controlled the Guyanese business economy, and they don’t want us in Guyana. I want investors to know there are great opportunities in Guyana, but they have to be careful,” he told the Sunday Guardian.
He is confident that he will be cleared of all charges that have been filed against him in Guyana.
“We will be cleared of the charges as they are bogus. Are they going to put the lives of more than 400 employees in Guyana on the breadline? I flew to Guyana, so I could go to court and defend myself.”
The company which has been in Guyana since 2013 provides logistics services in Guyana and to meet Guyanese local content criteria to operate there the company had to be 51 per cent Guyanese-owned.
Rampersad added that in June they were denied a local content certificate by the Guyanese Local Content Secretariat to operate there, and it meant that by the end of 2022 if they do not have a certificate, they would not be able to provide services to oil and gas companies.
“The reason why we were denied the certificate was because it was more administrative. They wanted certain documents. Everything that they asked for, we gave it to them in July. We wrote to them in August, and they said they have lots of applications, so they will get to ours. By September, we wrote again. Then by September 30, we filed an application for Judicial Review, and we said we’ve been constructively refused because the Local Content Secretariat is trying to drag the process on, and they know the more business we will lose.”
October 5, mere days after they filed the application for judicial review, the GRA charged the company with ten counts of false declaration and Rampersad asked if it was a mere coincidence.
“The Guyanese Local Content Secretariat’s defence on October 20 is that because Ramps Logistics is facing criminal charges they are putting the application on hold. It’s not that Ramps Logistics has paid less duties or anything with money. The contention with the GRA is that on the invoices for oil and gas equipment, they said we should have described ourselves as a ‘shipper’ and not a ‘seller’. It’s just that translation of one word on the invoice. It had nothing to do with the accuracy of the invoice or the value. So these charges instigated by the GRA is now what allows the Local Content Secretariat to make their claim.”