Thursday, May 22, 2008

Government moves to repossess lands from errant tenants- at Eccles, Coldingen, Ruimveldt

Government moves to repossess lands from errant tenants- at Eccles, Coldingen, Ruimveldt
Guyana Chronicle news item. Thursday 22 May 2008

HEAD of the Privatisation Unit, Mr. Winston Brassington, said government is moving to repossess the lands of all tenants in Eccles, Coldingen and Ruimveldt who are not paying rentals for their leases and have failed to honour their investment commitments.

He told reporters at a recent press briefing held in the National Communication Network (NCN) studio on D’Urban Street, Homestretch Avenue, that the non-paying tenants have been issued notices last year and efforts to seek reposition are going to be made this year. Mr. Brassington clarified that would not apply to some of the tenants who have purchased the lands they occupy.

“For all the property in those areas where the tenants are not paying rent or don’t have an agreement with us, we are moving to repossession,” Mr. Brassington declared.

He pointed out that the lands were issued since in the 1960s and in some cases at ‘peppercorn rent’ of $1000 a year which was never indexed or adjusted.

In addition, the Privatisation Unit head said attempts were made to enter into a current lease at a reasonable rate just for the land based on the evaluation of the Chief Valuation Officer.

That amount he noted was put to tenants; meetings were held with them even at the level of the Officer of the President (OP) plus a slight discount was offered but they still refused to ink the new deal.

Mr. Brassington acknowledged that the Eccles and Coldingen estates have very low rental rates but explained that when those areas were developed there were very strict lease terms and rental was not a big issue since the objective was to create conditions for investment and employment.

Some 84 and 38 lots have been leased in Eccles and Coldingen Industrial estates respectively at $1 per square foot per annum compared to the $ 50 approved for Sanata.

“We have a number of legal actions on Eccles where leasees have failed to invest and do what they committed to do. We are now seeking to terminate those arrangements, take back the property deal with a claw back provision, Mr. Brassington disclosed.

The Privatisation Board and government have previously approved leasing arrangements for other operations namely:

* the old glassworks facility leased to Mr. Howard Bulkan at $ 5.3 M per annum since the mid 1990’s when GGWL was dissolved;

* the former GNIC facility leased to GNIC at $ 70 M per annum but has not been paid; and

* the former GRDB wharf leased to B.K International at $ 10 M per annum.

Meanwhile, he said that squatters behind the Sanata complex has been referred to the relevant agency for action and posited that they may have contributed to the acts of vandalism on the building because items from the building have been discovered in their possession during police searches.

The rent for the complex he said was based on evaluations done on the building when it was in a much better state. (Tajeram Mohabir)

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