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Timothy Jonas

Timothy Jonas

March 7 ,2021

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-TNM says process should have been transparent, calls for probe

Declaring the approval last year of two new trawler licences in the seabob operation as an “act of corruption” under the Ministry of Agriculture, Chairman of A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Timothy Jonas says every effort should have already been made to correct the transgression given its implications for the trade.

“It is only possible that this is an act of corruption. Whether it is on a personal level where someone got a kickback or at a party level where a member was rewarded for their support, no one knows,” Jonas said as he added his party’s voice to the controversy over the secret issuance of the  trawler licences which is still to be resolved.

According to Jonas, the PPP/C government has been circling the wagons but has failed to provide a clear rationale for the approval the licences.  He stated that from this position, it is obvious that the government has no intention of correcting the matter.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Minister Zulfikar Mustapha have come under intense pressure over what has been seen as an opaque process that only came to light when exposed by the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Processors (GATOSP) in November last year. The licences were issued to a remigrant Guyanese, Rampersaud Sookdheo, who claims to have been in the fishing industry for the past 20 years and having worked in the Trinidadian fisheries sector.

Emphasising the fact that an earlier decision had been taken to reduce the number of trawler licences and trawlers operating in the trade to make it sustainable and prevent overfishing,  Jonas told Sunday Stabroek that the approval of new licences “can’t be good for the industry” as it breaches the sustainable policy agreement.

He went on to state that questions still remain  over the identity and credibility of the licences holder.

“It doesn’t help that no one knows this person in the fishing industry and we haven’t even seen the trawlers owned by this man to justify that he had operations in Trinidad,” Jonas added.

Asha Kissoon

Meanwhile, the leader of another opposition party, The New Movement (TNM), Dr Asha Kissoon told Sunday Stabroek that the approval of the licences should have been done in transparent manner. She said that it has always been the position of her party that every deal signed, licence issued, tender awarded among other matters should be made public and done with transparency.

“There should be some investigation [to justify what was done]. It should have never been a secret deal. It is on this same basis the PPP failed (in the past) and it seems as if it is the same practices they are returning with. We urge them to fix it,” she declared.

She pointed out that while her party has not objected in writing towards the approval of the licences, it has been its position in public forums to speak out against not only this secret deal but others.

Kissoon added that the party will at some point seek to engage Minister Mustapha and register its concern over the breaches in the issuance of the licences.

The parties of Jonas and Kissoon along with the Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) hold one list joinder seat in parliament and will take turns at sharing the seat. LJP presently holds the seat and is represented by its leader Lenox Shuman. He is also the Deputy Speaker of the House having been voted into that position by PPP/C MPs.

When approached for a comment on Thursday on the trawler licences, Shuman told Sunday Stabroek that he could not comment as he hadn’t been following the matter. He said he will be available to comment after the budget estimates and after he takes some time to review and study the information that is available in the public.

Busy

Meanwhile, Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture Madanlall Ramraj on Thursday told the Sunday Stabroek that the committee set up to review matters surrounding the licences is still to meet. The committee also includes representation from GATOSP. He explained that due to the budget deliberations, they were busy and unable to meet.  He has, nonetheless, committed to meeting shortly.

In its November, 2020 letter to the Minister, GATOSP had said that the addition of any vessel to the current licensing agreements is in contravention of the pact that it and the Fisheries Department of the ministry had agreed to.

Given the implications, the WWF Guianas’ local office had also written to Mustapha seeking clarification on the context in which the licences were granted.

“…We would be grateful if you can provide any information you may have in relation to this matter,” Aiesha Williams, Guyana Country Manager for the WWF Guianas, wrote in the December 11 letter, saying there was need to better understand the context in which the licences were issued.

Williams also expressed concern over the reported issuance of the new licences in a manner that could have “deep implications” for the country’s ability to maintain its Maritime Stewardship Council (MSC) certification over the seabob trade.

Guyana holds the position as the number one exporter of seabob shrimp. In 2019, almost 21,000 metric tonnes were exported, versus 2018 when 22,000 metric tonnes were exported.

Mustapha during an interview with this newspaper had stated that that approval of the new licences does not breach the quota of vessels that can operate nor does it threaten the international certification of the trade.

He justified the approval by stating that several licences are inactive and the current number of trawlers operating does not exceed 80, while emphasising that it does not go against the agreement in place with GATOSP and international partners. He has however not explained the process by which Sookhdeo was able to acquire the two licences.

According to the extant agreement with GATOSP, no more than 87 vessels should be operating in the industry.

Sookhdeo has been regarded as a mystery to persons in the fisheries sector here and in Trinidad and Tobago, where he said he had an established business under the name of Hassid Enterprise Limited. A Google search of the enterprise’s name came up empty.  The Ministry had previously rendered the name of the company as Haseed Enterprise.

Defending his right to the licences, in a statement he issued through the Ministry of Agriculture, Sookhdeo questioned why as a Guyanese who wanted to invest here he has been subjected to such scrutiny when he is a seasoned fisherman who is familiar with the industry. He says he has owned and operated long liner boats, Red Snapper cage boats and shrimp trawlers.

Sookhdeo in the statement had said that when he migrated to Trinidad, he partnered with an “old friend” and that birthed Hassid Enterprises Limited, which has been in existence for approximately 15 years.

Upon his return to Guyana due to challenges in the Trinidad and Tobago fishing sector, he said he approached the government for assistance and made an application for trawler licences as he had already had the required vessels for the trade.

“Boats deteriorate fast because of the salt air. If you park up your boat for about two years, you’d be lucky if you get something out of it. That is why I turn to the government for help. I made an application and I went through the process,” Sookhdeo explained as he sought to provide clarity on the licensing issue.

It is this application process that GATOSP has a problem with as it says it was not consulted despite the existence of an agreement between it and the ministry.

Original Post

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@cain posted:

So Shuman, when asked to comment on this somewhat crookidness, said he hasn't been following this matter. What a friken bunch of crock, so he's now been bought out.

Seems like but what happens when he is replaced as an MP?  Would they still pay him?  Remember he is occupying a seat won by three parties joined together and each party will get a turn at sending someone to Parliament. 

Timothy Jonas is talking out of turn. He said that approving new trawler licences is "an act of corruption" but cannot identify where the corruption is.

Jonas implied that it is only possible that the transaction to issue new licences is corruptible and continue to speculate a kickback or an award was given for their support.  Jones does not know what it is and he is just guessing. 

Guyana holds the position of, the number one exporter of seabob shrimp. In 2019, almost 21,000 metric tonnes were exported, versus 2018 when 22,000 metric tonnes were exported. This trend will have to be continued. The country has to move forward not backward.

This has nothing to do with Shuman and his comments. When he is replaced as an MP is insignificant to the issue. 

@Ramakant-P posted:

Timothy Jonas is talking out of turn. He said that approving new trawler licences is "an act of corruption" but cannot identify where the corruption is.

Jonas implied that it is only possible that the transaction to issue new licences is corruptible and continue to speculate a kickback or an award was given for their support.  Jones does not know what it is and he is just guessing.

Guyana holds the position of, the number one exporter of seabob shrimp. In 2019, almost 21,000 metric tonnes were exported, versus 2018 when 22,000 metric tonnes were exported. This trend will have to be continued. The country has to move forward not backward.

This has nothing to do with Shuman and his comments. When he is replaced as an MP is insignificant to the issue.

Since this issue was raised ,to date no clarity was given by the Government who the License was given to.

Guyana doesn't belong to any ruling government ,the people have a right to know who received the License .Is it a foreign company or local company ? there are regulations regarding sea bob over fishing.

Doesn't this looks like corruption ?

@Django posted:

Since this issue was raised ,to date no clarity was given by the Government who the License was given to.

Guyana doesn't belong to any ruling government ,the people have a right to know who received the License .Is it a foreign company or local company ? there are regulations regarding sea bob over fishing.

Doesn't this looks like corruption ?

I don't care what it looks like.  Speculation is not corruption. The licences were issued to a re-migrant Guyanese, Rampersaud Sookdheo.

@Ramakant-P posted:

Timothy Jonas is talking out of turn. He said that approving new trawler licences is "an act of corruption" but cannot identify where the corruption is.

Jonas implied that it is only possible that the transaction to issue new licences is corruptible and continue to speculate a kickback or an award was given for their support.  Jones does not know what it is and he is just guessing.

Guyana holds the position of, the number one exporter of seabob shrimp. In 2019, almost 21,000 metric tonnes were exported, versus 2018 when 22,000 metric tonnes were exported. This trend will have to be continued. The country has to move forward not backward.

This has nothing to do with Shuman and his comments. When he is replaced as an MP is insignificant to the issue.

Eh eh now Jonas speaking out of turn.  When he was madly and foolishly campaigning to install the PPP in power he was your golden boy.  Of course Shuman is relevant to the issue because he is occupying a seat partly won by Jonas' party and he is claiming that he hasn't been following the issue.  Who does he think he is fooling?  The people at St. Cuthbert's Mission?  Will the PPP still have to bribe him when he is replaced as an MP?  But then again, there may be an election before that happens. 

@Ramakant-P posted:

I don't care what it looks like.  Speculation is not corruption.

The licences were issued to a re-migrant Guyanese, Rampersaud Sookdheo.

Shows there are acceptance of corruption.

Grey areas ,regarding the individual.

Last edited by Django
@Ramakant-P posted:

I don't care what it looks like.  Speculation is not corruption. The licences were issued to a re-migrant Guyanese, Rampersaud Sookdheo.

Why was others not invited to apply? This is PPP's cronyism.

@Ramakant-P posted:

Timothy Jonas is talking out of turn. He said that approving new trawler licences is "an act of corruption" but cannot identify where the corruption is.

Jonas implied that it is only possible that the transaction to issue new licences is corruptible and continue to speculate a kickback or an award was given for their support.  Jones does not know what it is and he is just guessing.

Guyana holds the position of, the number one exporter of seabob shrimp. In 2019, almost 21,000 metric tonnes were exported, versus 2018 when 22,000 metric tonnes were exported. This trend will have to be continued. The country has to move forward not backward.

This has nothing to do with Shuman and his comments. When he is replaced as an MP is insignificant to the issue.

I see freedom house or one of Ray's commandos is using Rama's handle to post. No way that dummy Rama could have written the above.

Fresh guys on the scene like Jonas need to stop aligning with any of these 2 old parties of oligarchs. They need to keep the heat on BOTH parties and over time their stock will grow with the public, because as sure as hell in a year from now I suspect the PPP will be embroiled in corruption again.

@cain posted:

Isn't it strange even though an individual is shown along with a name, no information could be found regarding this person nor business?

No, it's not strange at all. Ever heard of Fip Motilall, the baron of building roads???????? He too got millions.

Their clown supporters don't care that the SAME pattern that existed for  years has emerged in a matter of months. It's cool with them, cuz now it's THEIR RACE doing it!

Last edited by Iguana
@cain posted:

So Shuman, when asked to comment on this somewhat crookidness, said he hasn't been following this matter. What a friken bunch of crock, so he's now been bought out.

No, sugar! Not now! Lang tyme go! Axe Jag.de plannur uv fourseeuble. tingz! Ee int stoopid lyk de PeeaNCee!

@Django posted:

Since this issue was raised ,to date no clarity was given by the Government who the License was given to.

Guyana doesn't belong to any ruling government ,the people have a right to know who received the License .Is it a foreign company or local company ? there are regulations regarding sea bob over fishing.

Doesn't this looks like corruption ?

Guyana also had the right to know about all the.corruption that took place under the coalition government rather than have to wait for exposure by the PPP, their opposition!

@Totaram posted:

Eh eh now Jonas speaking out of turn.  When he was madly and foolishly campaigning to install the PPP in power he was your golden boy.  Of course Shuman is relevant to the issue because he is occupying a seat partly won by Jonas' party and he is claiming that he hasn't been following the issue.  Who does he think he is fooling?  The people at St. Cuthbert's Mission?  Will the PPP still have to bribe him when he is replaced as an MP?  But then again, there may be an election before that happens.

Jimmy, I'm sure, is looking forward to.the LGE and exposing Shuman and the PPP! But then again, the PPP has been rewarding Shuman's voters!

Last edited by shallyv
@Iguana posted:

I see freedom house or one of Ray's commandos is using Rama's handle to post. No way that dummy Rama could have written the above.

Fresh guys on the scene like Jonas need to stop aligning with any of these 2 old parties of oligarchs. They need to keep the heat on BOTH parties and over time their stock will grow with the public, because as sure as hell in a year from now I suspect the PPP will be embroiled in corruption again.

That, I believe, is what the AFC should do! Now! What do they have to lose but the weight of the dead PeeaNCee?

@shallyv posted:

That, I believe, is what the AFC should do! Now! What do they have to lose but the weight of the dead PeeaNCee?

The AFC is dead, their credibility lost. Their mistake was to allow the crows from the Oligarchies to infest them, parasites like Nagamootoo, Van West Charles, etc. These men were looking for revenge on their former parties, power and to wrap up their political careers with $$$. Well, they got it, but the parties paid the price.

It's time for yet another new breed. Guys like the Jonases. My hope is they do not give ANY room to these has beens. A new party must be a new party with none of the old hacks.

Last edited by Iguana
@shallyv posted:

Yeh! I agree! But iz wheh yuh gun fyn dem? Politics is the road to wealth in poor Guyana! If you can only stifle your conscience and do what experienced thieves tell you to do!

You guh back and run tings. You know all dis shit who do who wah in WW2, who eating good in Cuba cuz they fat, and suh on. You bin around since de time of the bolsheviks. Don't waste dat wisdom. Guyana kyant get any madder dan it is now.

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