BaiShanLin sells off Cacique Palace

…still awaiting word from GRA on way forward – source

Embattled logging company BaiShanLin Forest Developers Inc has put on the chopping block the Cacique Palace aback the Princess Hotel, East Bank Demerara which it had purchased recently.
According to an advertisement published in the Wednesday edition of Guyana Times, the entity is advertising for buyers.
The Cacique Palace and Banquet Hall began construction in preparation for the 2007 Cricket World Cup; however, the US$3.5 million project was never completed and opened for business despite a G$30 million cash injection by the then Government.
To recover its monies, the previous Administration had established a team comprising the developers and other facilitators to negotiate a sale.

The Cacique Palace aback the Princess Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara
The Cacique Palace aback the Princess Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara

This obtained in 2009 when the then Government, as well as the owners of the Cacique Palace and Banquet Hall, entered into an agreement wherein the Government would have acquired and complete the construction of the edifice.
The property had stayed vacant on the market for a number of years before BaiShanLin snapped it up as accommodation for its employees as it expanded its operations locally.
The controversial Chinese logging company has, in recent months, found itself in dire financial straits, causing the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to levy against company property and equipment lieu of in excess of $1.5 billion said to be owed to the tax authority.
The Guyana Government has since terminated the Investment Agreement with BaiShanLin and the entity was asked to repay the fiscal concessions it had been granted for the importation of machinery, equipment and vehicles to the tune of $1.5 billion.
The two entities have since entered into closed doors negotiations in order to sort out an amicable agreement.
Guyana Times was told by a source close to the negotiations that BaiShanLin had been asked to prepare a proposal for the GRA with regard to its initial commitments in Guyana.
This was done, but according to the source, the GRA is still to respond to BaiShanLin on the way forward.
The revenue collection agency had launched an investigation to determine if the terms and conditions under which the tax exemptions were granted had been complied with.
BaiShanLin was found to have breached the terms and conditions outlined in the Investment Agreement.
According to the Revenue Authority, BaiShanLin failed to undertake the activities of the project specified in the Investment Agreement with regard to the setting up of a modernised wood processing facility in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
The tax collection body also found that the company failed to procure and provide all the investment and other financing required by the undertaking, in the estimated sum of US$150 million over a three-year period from the time of signing of the Investment Agreement.
The company had found itself in even more hot water when the Guyana Forestry Commission moved to seize all of the forestry concessions held by BaiShanLin, including those controlled through Joint Venture Arrangements with local companies that held Timber Sales Agreements.
The company had sought the assistance of the Chinese Development Bank along with the local embassy in its search to secure an investor to no avail.