Jagdeo blasts Govt’s out-of-court settlements

first_img– describes route as “incompetence and rape of the treasury”Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has warned of the economic impact the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government’s obsession with out-of-court settlements could have onOpposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoGuyana.Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams while defending his Government for coming to a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement with BK International over the Haags Bosch Landfill Site, announced that more of these settlements were likely.However, Jagdeo at a recent press conference said incompetence was the reason for the Government to embark on this course of action.“[It’s] incompetence and rape of the treasury. We don’t know how many statements are made on a daily basis,” he stated.The former President had, in the past, warned the present Government about setting a precedent in running too quickly to settle matters outside the court, many of which he had said the Government was in a strong position to win.Earlier this year, the current Administration agreed to pay BK International US$5.7 million in an out-of-court settlement for the terminated contract and works completed “satisfactorily” at the landfill site. At that time, Williams had argued that the settlement was necessary, since the Government was fearful of losing a US$10 million lawsuit filed by the contractor.However, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan subsequently rubbished the AG’s claims, and stated that there was no legal action taken and the payout was done on the basis of a mere letter from BK International threatening to sue the Government for US$10 million.Williams has since sought to cast blame on the former Government, which, he said, had already agreed to pay BK.Addressing this, Jagdeo dismissed the claim as an “absolute lie”, adding that “Basil Williams knows that himself. In the past eight months…they have never mentioned this once.”He said it was the APNU/AFC Government that publicly declared that BK International had filed a lawsuit for US$10 million.“Now, because they are cornered, it had to be that the PPP agreed to the settlement. Everything that is bad has to be put at the step of the PPP,” Jagdeo remarked.Apart from the BK settlement, back in April, the APNU/AFC Government agreed to a similar settlement with the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) over the consumption tax rate levied by the Government on DDL and other beverage manufacturers.Jagdeo had said that the significant consequence of that settlement was that Banks DIH Ltd, who, in like circumstances, paid billions of dollars in consumption taxes, assessed by the Commissioner General, utilising the same method used to calculate DDL’s consumption tax liabilities, could also claim a refund on consumption taxes paid.last_img read more

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