Henry says No­randa deal to be inked to­day

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

TRANS­PORT AND Min­ing Min­is­ter Mike Henry says the Gov­ern­ment is go­ing ahead with plans to sign an agree­ment to­day with New Day, a com­pany that ac­quired the 49 per cent stake in the No­randa Ja­maica Baux­ite Part­ners.

The planned sign­ing comes de­spite de­mands by the par­lia­men­tary Op­po­si­tion for the ad­min­is­tra­tion to fur­nish par­tic­u­lars about the com­pany be­fore ink­ing the deal.

The Op­po­si­tion yes­ter­day called for a halt to the sign­ing of the bind­ing let­ter of in­tent to­day un­til the Par­lia­ment can be pro­vided with in­for­ma­tion about the com­pany.

How­ever, there ap­pear to be mixed sig­nals from the Gov­ern­ment as the Min­istry of Trans­port and Min­ing is­sued a note to the me­dia in­di­cat­ing that the sign­ing cer­e­mony for the takeover of No­randa Ja­maica Baux­ite Part­ners, sched­uled for to­day at the min­istry, had been called off.

After the note was is­sued, The Gleaner asked Henry if the sign­ing would take place to­day, and he an­swered in the af­fir­ma­tive.

Be­fore the mo­tion of ad­journ­ment in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives yes­ter­day, Leader of Gov­ern­ment Busi­ness Der­rick Smith said Henry would ad­dress con­cerns and ques­tions about the com­pany in a se­cond state­ment to Par­lia­ment to­day.


At the same time, as part of the agree­ment to be signed with New Day, the Gov­ern­ment has made a far-reach­ing de­ci­sion to scrap the decades-old baux­ite levy ar­range­ment by re­plac­ing it with a pro­posed profit-shar­ing agree­ment, a move which the par­lia­men­tary Op­po­si­tion said it could not sup­port, not­ing that Ja­maica would be giv­ing up a safe source of rev­enue to an ac­cord that is shrouded in un­cer­tainty.

Un­der the pro­posed new agree­ment, the Gov­ern­ment and New Day will en­ter into a 25year part­ner­ship in the first in­stance.

Henry said that, un­der the new ar­range­ment, both the Gov­ern­ment and New Day would “ben­e­fit from any fi­nan­cial re­cov­ery in the per­for­mance of the min­ing and re­fin­ing op­er­a­tions be­ing ac­quired”.

In ad­di­tion, Henry said the terms of the agree­ment would en­sure that the Gov­ern­ment re­coup the un­paid 2014 and 2015 baux­ite levy, which amounts to US$12.6 mil­lion.

How­ever, Paulwell ex­pressed dis­sat­is­fac­tion with as­pects of the joint-ven­ture ar­range­ment and quizzed Henry about the com­pany and its prin­ci­pals.

He wanted his coun­ter­part to tell par­lia­men­tar­i­ans about New Day, a ques­tion which the min­is­ter said he would re­spond to on Wed­nes­day.

The Op­po­si­tion spokesman, who is also the leader of op­po­si­tion busi­ness in the House, in­sisted that the min­is­ter pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on the com­pany, not­ing that it was un­ac­cept­able that the ad­min­is­tra­tion was tak­ing steps to sign a ma­jor agree­ment with New Day with­out the Par­lia­ment know­ing any­thing about the en­tity.


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