Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Court ruling shows Guyana’s judicial system is free, fair and independent, says Ramps CEO

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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ramps Logistics Guyana Inc., Shaun Rampersad says the company’s recent victory in the court regarding its local status, represents a triumph for the country’s oil investment market.

The company is due to receive its Local Content Certificate on or before noon on Monday, November 14, 2022, as per the orders of Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire. Her ruling in this regard was handed down on Friday after hearing oral arguments led by Ramps’ lawyers, Senior Counsel Edward Luckhoo SC and C.V. Satram, against the Local Content Secretariat’s legal team in the High Court.

“This judgment is a victory for Ramps and Guyana. It reinforces to international investors that Guyana is a place where their investment and their capital is secured. In Guyana, as with many other places around the world, investors can run into differences of opinion with regulatory agencies,” the CEO said.

Rampersad added that those investors can now feel confident that in Guyana there is a judicial system that is free, fair, and independent and justice is served on time. The CEO said, “We are committed to working with all the government agencies, including the Guyana Revenue Authority to ensure we are compliant and that we work in the best interest of Guyana.”

He was also keen to note that the judgment is one that brings huge relief for employees as the entire ordeal was stressful over the last few months.

“This makes us feel a lot better about the future and we look forward to taking our work forward and in helping Guyana shine on the international stage,” the CEO stated.

In her ruling on Friday, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC categorically stated that Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat and Director of the Local Content Secretariat, Dr. Martin Pertab, erred in their denial of a Local Content Certificate to Ramps Logistics Guyana Inc.

She recalled that the company had submitted its application earlier this year to the Secretariat, but it was refused on several grounds. The Secretariat had flagged, among other issues, inconsistencies in financial statements submitted that would prove 51% of the company is owned by a Guyanese, Deepak Lall. Pertab, in particular, said in his affidavit that Ramps was facing several charges laid by the Guyana Revenue Authority for breach of the customs law. As a result of this, the application for Ramps was placed on hold.

The Chief Justice after probing several aspects of Pertab’s submissions concluded that the minister has, and had, no authority under the law to make a decision whether to grant or refuse a Local Content Certificate of Registration.

As for Pertab’s consideration of the GRA charges, the CJ pointed out that those were laid five days after the application for judicial review and were therefore irrelevant as a point of reference. She said the Director “clearly took irrelevant matters into consideration in deciding to refuse the application for registration.”

Furthermore, the Chief Justice said the Local Content Act clearly needs regulations to prevent arbitrary decision-making. Because of her conclusions, an order was granted to compel the Director to issue the certificate on or before noon on Monday.

OilNOW understands that cost for damages will be assessed at a separate hearing on February 20, 2023, at 13: 30 hrs.

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