Declaring that the company has been left in the dark over the decision by the Local Content Secretariat not to grant it a Local Content Certificate to operate in Guyana, RAMPS Logistics believes it is deserving of being given clear reasons for its denial.
At a press conference this morning, Chairman of RAMPS Logistics, Shaun Rampersaud said since the company received an automated response informing the company of the denial of the Local Content Certificate, repeated efforts to engage the Local Secretariat have failed.
He said officials at the secretariat have not responded to the company’s emails or phone calls.
“We have done everything we could to do the right thing, and when people do the right thing, I feel that we should at least get an acknowledgment to say this is the reason why you have been denied. It is extremely important for us to reach out to everybody in Guyana, our employees and the stakeholders, to understand that we feel that we have done the right thing”, Rampersaud said.
On Wednesday, News Source reached out to the Head of the Local Content Secretariat, Martin Pertab for a comment. He directed all queries to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The Secretariat falls under the Ministry.
Under the Local Content legislation, for companies to be able to operate in the Guyana oil and gas sector, they should be majority-owned by a Guyanese, have at least 75% of their management being Guyanese nationals and 90% of the workforce being Guyanese nationals.
The Chairman said the company has reached all of the requirements but is at a loss regarding the denial of the certificate.
“Within two days of us trying to get information, we realized that we were not getting any information”, Mr. Persaud noted.
He said the livelihood of the company’s more than 400 employees is now at stake.
RAMPS Logistics was first registered in Guyana in 2013. The company grew quickly to become one of the largest logistics companies in the local oil and gas sector as it landed major contracts from the oil companies.
When it became clear that in order to be able to continue to operate in Guyana’s oil and gas sector, it would need to be Guyanese majority-owned, the Trinidadian company engaged Trinidadian-born, Guyanese national and engineer, Deepak Lall who operates a large energy supplies company in Trinidad to become the majority shareholder of the Guyana operations.
While Lall was born in Trinidad and Tobago, his father is Guyanese by birth and he was able to obtain Guyanese citizenship by descent.
According to the Chairman of RAMPS Logistics Guyana, Mr. Deepak Lall became the majority shareholder after he purchased 51% of the company’s shares at a cost of US$1 million.
Today, the company provided the bank transfer documents showing the money was paid and the birth certificate of the new Director’s father to prove that in keeping with the legislation, all of the requirements were met.
Questioned as to why Mr. Lall was chosen over investors who were actually born in Guyana and still reside here, Mr. Rampersaud said Lall met all of the requirements that the company was looking for in an investor. He said the company has done nothing wrong and is not even sure if that is the reason behind the denial of the certificate, and that is why it wants more information to be provided on the issue.
“The decisions that Ministries and statutory bodies make can only be based on law. The law says a Guyanese national and I feel like everybody is clear on what a Guyanese national is. Now, the Government has the right to change the law and if the law is changed to say it’s no longer a Guyanese national, but a Guyanese resident, then we like everybody else will have to ensure that we comply with the law”, Rampersaud said.
It was explained that while not being granted the local content license would not force the company to shut down its operations, it would have to scale those operations down in the oil and gas sector, where it makes most of its income.
The Chairman of RAMPS Guyana did not want to comment on the specific financial losses that the company faces with the non-approval of the license to operate in the oil and gas sector, but he said it would be millions of dollars.
Under the Local Content Act, there is a provision in the case of a company being denied a license, for that company to make a direct appeal to the Minister of Natural Resources.
The RAMPS Logistics Chairman said the company intends to do just that as it continues to seek answers and maintain its operations in Guyana.