Interesting Things Happen When Your Country Has Gold Mines, Then You Find Oil, $100Billion+

By: digitalCaribbean.LIVE – Caribbean Business News & Politics – Category
– Updated – Sunday July 19th. 8.30am

PART 1

In the primary city of this country there is a main street named Albert Street, and another named Regent Street, and Church Street; and it looks a lot like Belize City in some parts.
But this is not Belize City, it is Georgetown Guyana.

The country is on the verge of profound changes that some observers say will cause it to become the wealthiest country south of the United States.

In the past few months since the March 2nd. election, Guyana is in a delicate balance of possible civil war or chaos or profound prosperity and peace.

Basic Country Facts
The nation of Guyana attained its independence from colonial British rule in 1966 and the capital ‘Georgetown’ is the headquarters of the CARICOM secretariat.
Guyana is (214,969 km² ) about 10 times the size of Belize (8,867 square miles, or 23,000 km²) and has a population of almost 780,000 people.

The Election
On March 2nd. 2020 the country had a general election, and a little over 451,000 ballots were cast’d . Some of which were from Guyanese-born people, living in the United States. The election on the ground inside the country had a high turnout rate of 70.3%; of registered voters who elected 65 candidates to their house of representatives, including the president.

The Presidential Candidates
The incumbent president David A. Granger leads the ‘A Partnership for National Unity’ (APNU+AFC) and the opposition party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is lead by Irfaan Ali.

The incumbent, David A Granger was first elected as Guyana’s president after a coalition of the APNU & AFC joined to form the current government which took office in May 2015.

David A. Granger
Irfaan Ali

The supporters of incumbent president David A Granger have loudly call for him to be sworn back in as president, but on March 6th. a high court blocked efforts to declare anyone as the president elect until the all matters are heard by the courts.

A Rumble in CARICOM
More than 2 months after the election there was still no declared winner and the rangeling and claims of fraud was all over regional news. The incumbent government of President David A Granger invited a team of observers from CARICOM member states, and on May 6th. a recount of the ballots began.

The statistics are a starting point for concern because most countries in the region have never had such a large number of ballots or votes, when compared by ratio with the population. In this election almost 451,000 ballots were counted; in a country with a population of 780,000, considering that the under voting age population is almost 290,000, including school age children and toddlers.

The high-level group from other CARICOM member states arrived in Georgetown Guyana on 1 May, and the recount exercise began on May 6th. and ended on June 9th.

The CARICOM Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana

The following report from the observer team was submitted to the secretary-general of CARICOM. – CARICOM Observer Report PDF

The team of observers from CARICOM member states arrived in Guyana to watch the recount. The team was lead by Ms. Cynthia Barrow-Giles, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government at UWI, Mr. John Jarvis, Commissioner of the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission and Mr. Sylvester King, Deputy Supervisor of Elections of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They were met at the airport by CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General for Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson.

One of Jamaica’s leading newspaper, the Jamaica Gleaner reported that the Chairman of CARICOM (at that time) Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley may have been too quick to chastise the Granger government in Guyana.

The Caribbean Court of Justice
There has been heated accusations of fraud and claims of sophisticated voter and-or ballot tampering from both sides, which has culminated in legal action at the highest courts in Guyana, and finally leading to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

During the process of validating ballots, Guyana’s Chief Election Officer determined that over 100,000 votes were invalid. However, On Wednesday, July 15th. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) handed down a unanimous decision which does not agree with the methods used by the Chief Election Officer (CEO) to invalidate the ballots.

Latest Developments In Guyana’s Election Saga
The following is the latest news from the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper. (Friday July 17th.)

Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh

“ATTORNEY General Basil Williams, on Friday, argued that the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh is constitutionally bound to declare the Leader of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change, David Granger, as the President Elect in accordance with the advice tendered by the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield.

In his virtual appearance before Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire, Williams – the fourth named respondent in the Misenga Jones Case – told the High Court that though the Chief Elections Officer submitted his Elections Report in accordance with the Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act, the Chair of the Elections Commission has rejected the report.

Such, he argued, is a constitutional breach. The report indicated that more votes were cast in favour of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), for which President David Granger is the Presidential Candidate. “The Chairman of the [Elections] Commission was obliged to then declare him [David Granger] as having been elected under the said Article 177 (2) (b); that has not happened, and so we have a constitutional crisis in that regard,” the Attorney General told Justice George-Wiltshire during a five hour marathon court hearing on Friday.
– end quote –

THE OIL INDUSTRY
“A series of successful offshore discoveries by ExxonMobil – estimating eight billion barrels of recoverable resources – has catapulted Guyana to global prominence, promising to transform the tiny rainforest nation into a major oil economy.”
– end quote –
Those were the words of a news article on April 13th. 2020 in the highly regarded oil analytic and research publication NE ENERGY.

in 2005 Guyana had a very modest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of only US$77-million dollars, which grew to US$247-million dollars in 2011. (Gov. of Guyana data).

Since the announcement of oil being found off the coast of Guyana in an area known as the Takutu and Guyana Basin in the Atlantic ocean, the annual FDI growth rate of 21% would now be estimated to be US$1.7-billion for the year 2019.

Both Rystad Energy and Exxon have published data indicating that Guyana’s oil reserves are approximately 8 billion barrels of crude oil, which will transform the country into a major oil producing state that will output 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) in late 2020 and 750,000 bpd by 2025, and an even further 1.3 million bpd by 2030.

GOLD
Additionally, digitalCaribbean-dot-LIVE has verified published data that Guyana produced approximately 96,000 ounces of gold in 2019. The projection for 2020 is estimated to be the same or more production from its Aurora gold mining operations.

On May 4th. 2020 the stock price of Guyana Gold Fields Inc. traded at $0.70cents on The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). As of Friday July 17th. 2020 the stock has traded as high as $1.80.

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– OPINION –
The people of the CARICOM union should all pay close attention to what is happening in Guyana, afterall, the headquarters of CARICOM itself is in Georgetown, Guyana.
The continuous practice of democracy in our CARICOM union states is the most critical mechanism that makes small countries strong. – That they not be looked upon as uncouth relics of former Banana republics, but rather, well managed, democratic and sovereign states that punch well above their global weight.

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URL Resource List: – Guyana Demographics: wiki
Guyana Country Review – Caribbean Development Bank
Guyana Ministry of Natural Resources: Petroleum & Environmental Report
On June 27th. 2020 – The Guardian

Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.co

BRADS GAMING GROUP LTD. AWARDED LOTTERY GAMING CONTRACT FOR 10 MORE YEARS

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting )

The multi-million dollar business of various lottery games has been extremely beneficial to both the Government of Belize and Brads Gaming Group Limited.

In 2009 the company won the original contract to administer several different lottery games, that contracts was for 10 years.

In September of 2019 the tender was offered by the government to all interested and qualified organizations to submit offers to GOB, the government stated last year that it was not going to aromatically award the contract to BRADS Gaming Group.

Today (July 3rd.) GOB announced that BRADS Gaming Group Ltd. owned by Kim Jen Chee will continue to administer all lottery games in Belize for 10 more years.

A Great Revenue Stream ( Some for Education )
It is estimated that at least $10.7-million (on Average) is spent each week on all lottery games in Belize. All lottery winnings above $750 is taxed 15% which goes to the Government of Belize, in addition to the taxes and fees paid by other companies such as SCRATCH-OFF and other games of chance and gambling.

A large portion of all gaming and gambling taxes collected by the government are earmarked for education, that is according to part III of the Gaming Control Act of Belize.

The government’s press release said –
The Government of Belize, via the Lotteries Tender Panel, has completed negotiations with Brads Gaming Group Limited for a license to administer the Belize Government Lottery for the period of April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2030.

In September 2019, the Government of Belize announced the open tender for the license to administer the Government Lotteries for the period April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2030. Consequently, a Lotteries Tender Panel was established comprising representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Lotteries Committee, and the Gaming Control Board to assess proposals for the administration of the Government Lotteries. The evaluation was conducted in accordance with procurement policies as advised by the Ministry of Finance using a quality and cost-based approach.

Bids were received from three interested parties. The Lotteries Tender Panel evaluated and ranked all three bids based on the pre-determined criteria established for the procurement process. At the end of the evaluation process, the Lotteries Tender Panel recommended to the Government of Belize that the license to administer the Belize Government Lottery be awarded to the proposal with the highest score.

Subsequent to the Government of Belize’s acceptance of the recommendation, and as required by the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act, the negotiated license and contract, along with the tender report and related documents, were submitted to the Office of the Contractor General for review and no-objection prior to execution. Having received the no-objection from the Office of the Contractor General, the license and contract to administer the Belize Government Lottery was signed on June 26th.

The executed license and contract will be laid before the House of Representatives at its next sitting as required by the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act.

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

Westrac’s Phylanthrophy: Paid For All The Students School Fees

June 24th. 2020 – The managers of Westrac present a check to pay for the school fees of all students at Unity Presbyterian Primary School in Belize City.

The teachers, the students and the principal of these lucky schools in Belize City are all happy tonight. Thanks to some well needed donations from a good corporate citizen, Westrac.

Drive down Antelope Street Extension from Central American Blvd. and you will pass through one of the most challenging neighborhoods in Belize City; and the difficulties in that community is even more amplified by the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, that has left many people unemployed.

But the afternoon of Wednesday June 24th. was different, there was smiles from ear to ear and at least for the students and parents and teachers and especially the principal, this was a very good day.

As the principal stood at a podium in the church building, she explained how she got the phone call, and at first she was in disbelief, then she was elated to get the news that a donor will pay all the school fees for all the children that attend her school . All 255 students of Unity Presbyterian Primary School have received a donation of (a) 1 year of paid school fees, and (b) A book bag, Back-Pac.

The philanthropic work and efforts of WESTRAC Ltd. has been done before, but this time they got suggestions from several community organizations and then carefully made a choice of who should get a donation and how it would be disbursed. In this case, all the parents of students at that school will have a receipt that indicates that the school fees for the entire school year 2020-2021 is paid in full.

Earlier in the day, Westrac Ltd. donated to Queens Street Baptist School and similarly paid the school fees for all the students at that school.

Way to go – Westrac

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Written & Compiled by – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter: + channel1Belize.com
channel1Belize@gmail.com

Government Of Belize Announces A Request To ‘Interest Capitalization’ of Bonds Due In 2034

Updated Thursday, June 18th. 7..21am

Today, ( Wednesday, June 17th. 2020) the Government of Belize issued a press release with a ‘Heading’ that said “Belize Announce Request For Interest Capitalization’ To the holders of Belize’s US Dollar Bonds.

We were not aware of exactly what the term means, and we have a feeling that ‘you’ our readers are also unsure of what that term means, so we did some research in the financial world and this is what it means.

What Is Capitalized Interest?
Capitalization is the addition of unpaid interest to the principal balance of your loan. The principal balance of a loan increases when payments are postponed during periods of deferment or forbearance and unpaid interest is capitalized. As a result, more interest may accrue over the life of the loan, the monthly payment amount may be higher, or more payments may be required.

What we can tell you is that basically the letter is asking the holders of Belize’s Bonds to wait a few months for the next payment, due to the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As is stated above in the government’s press release, Belize is due to make a payment on August 20th. That payment would normally be $25 million Belize dollars.

What Does The Request For Interest Capitalization Mean
The request to the bond-holders ( ie: investors that purchased Belize’s Bonds) is for the payment of $12.5 million U.S dollars that is due on August 20 should be deferred ; then added to the entire principal balance due, and a payment will be made at a later date, (February 2021), when the country is expected to be in a better financial position.

Additionally, In a separate financial juggling act, on Thursday June 4th. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the Belize Central Bank presented a 30 million U.S Dollar denominated 5 year Treasury Note to buyers, each Treasury Note has a value of $50 thousand U. S dollars.

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Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

CCJ RULING IN CRITICAL CASE – IN FAVOR OF ‘CARICOM’S COTED

By: digitalBelize.LIVE ( in-depth business reporting ) – Updated June 14th. 2020 –

Doing big business in the Caribbean has attracted many international companies that provide large quantities of minerals, building materials and fuels., etc.

Today, June 10th. 2020, a key moment in the history of the Caribbean Union (CARICOM) and an arm of that regional organization’s policy and authority was handed down today by the Caribbean Court of Justice.

In a ruling that bolsters the goals of a CARICOM Union committee known as COTED
( Council for Trade and Economic Development ) the court ruled that COTED is justified in creating tariffs that are levied on (in this case, imported cement that came from a country that is not in the CARICOM Union ).

The following is the entire news article from CARICOM.ORG.

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(Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) – In a judgment released Wednesday, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) upheld the decision of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) to raise the tariff on “other hydraulic cement” imported into Barbados.

The CCJ declared, however, that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Barbados failed in their respective duties to conduct prior consultation with the importers, Rock Hard Cement Limited (“Rock Hard”). The Court’s decision was given in the original jurisdiction matter of Rock Hard Cement Limited v The State of Barbados and The Caribbean Community and Arawak Cement Company Limited, Intervening [2020] CCJ 2 (OJ).

On June 17, 2019, COTED, the organ of CARICOM responsible for altering or suspending the Common External Tariff (CET), approved the application of Barbados to suspend the CET of 5% on other hydraulic cement in order to replace it with a tariff of 35%. The suspension was authorised for a period of two years and not the five years requested.

Rock Hard imports other hydraulic cement manufactured in Turkey into Barbados. Rock Hard was not consulted or notified before the application to raise the tariff was made or granted although both Barbados and COTED were aware of the impact the COTED decision would likely have had on that company. Rock Hard claimed that the decision to raise the tariff should be annulled because it had a legitimate expectation that Barbados would keep the tariff steady at the CET rate of 5%. The basis of this legitimate expectation was alleged representations made to Rock Hard by Barbadian officials in 2015 when Barbados reduced the tariff from 60%, where it stood in 2015, to the CET rate of 5%.

The Court held that, in order for Rock Hard to succeed in the Court’s Original Jurisdiction, the alleged representations that gave rise to its expectation must have come from CARICOM, but there was no claim or evidence that it was COTED that made the alleged representations to Rock Hard. The Court held that subsequent knowledge by COTED of the alleged representations could not make COTED a party to them as those representations had not been made on COTED’s behalf.

The Court also dismissed Rock Hard’s claims that the COTED decision was arbitrary or irrational. The Court stated that the rationale and justification presented to COTED by Barbados were supported by the factual circumstances and that in any event the grounds on which the request was approved clearly fell within a category which allows COTED a broad discretion and where the scope for the Court’s intervention is narrow.

On the other hand, the Court decided to declare that Barbados and CARICOM had failed to ensure that Rock Hard was consulted before the application for the suspension was approved. Because the consultation required for an application of this type was limited to obtaining information as to the impact of the proposed tariff increase, the Court decided that the effect of the failure to consult did not call for annulment of the decision. The Court expressed dismay that CARICOM had failed to maintain an effective system of consultations at the national and regional level as required by Article 26 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC). The Court noted that the agreed procedures for the processing of requests to COTED, such as this one made by Barbados, had not yet been formally brought into force. The Court found that this was a weakness in the system.

The Court concluded by stating that it is a matter of Barbadian domestic policy whether that State wished to adopt measures to facilitate the importation of cement produced extra-regionally or encourage locally produced cement manufactured by Arawak Cement Company Limited. The Court emphasised, however, that any such measures and the processes accompanying them must comply with the rule of law.

The judgment was delivered by the full Bench of the CCJ comprising the President, the Honourable Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders and the Honourables Justice Jacob Wit, Justice Winston Anderson, Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Justice Denys Barrow, Justice Andrew Burgess and Justice Peter Jamadar. Mr. Allan Wood, QC and Ms Symone Mayhew, QC appeared for Rock Hard Cement Limited. Ms Gayle Scott and Mr Jared Richards appeared for the State of Barbados. Dr Corlita Babb-Schaefer and Mr O’Neil Francis appeared for the Caribbean Community and Mr Eamon Courtenay, SC and Mr Raphael Ajodha appeared for Arawak Cement Company Limited.

The full judgment of the Court and a judgment summary are available on the Court’s website at www.ccj.org.

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Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE: from caricom.org news

 digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com

WARRANT ISSUED FOR FORMER MINISTER – FAILURE TO APPEAR IN COURT

Update: June 2nd. 2020
This morning at the supreme court in Belmopan former minister Elvin Penner made an appearance before a Judge and explained that because of some urgent personal matters that had arisen, he was unable to be at court on June 1st. as required. Mr Penner stated that he realize the importance of making required court appearances but on this occasion he was unable to be present. The court accepted his explanation and he was free to go.

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Monday, June 1st. 2020

In a stunning fall from grace, former Minister and U.D.P Cabinet member Elvin Penner may be arrested by police, when this morning (June 1st.) the supreme court issued a bench warrant for his detention due to his failure to appear in a Belmopan court to face charges of Manslaughter.

In 2017 Penner was the driver of a vehicle that knocked down and killed Kenrick Myvett on the George Price Highway. (western hwy.)

Penner was the Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, and served in the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2015 representing the Cayo North East constituency. He is the first Belizean Mennonite elected to national office.

The ministry of Immigration was tarnished by several scandals and corrupt activities, the worst was the Won Hong Kim passport scandal, in which a jailed criminal in South Korea was claiming Belizean citizenship, which he reportedly acquired after Penner’s intervention or during his oversight of that ministry.

Written & Compiled by digitalCaribbean.Live – digitalBelize.LIVE staff reporter:  digitalCaribbean.LIVE@gmail.com