Following is a statement issued by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on his intervention in the halting of the seizure of Baishan Lin’s vehicles by the Guyana Revenue Authority.
Over the past weeks, several reports in the media conveyed the erroneous impression that I had used my official Government position to interfere in the work of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). Reports alleged also that there were corrupt dealings with the Company involved in the intended actions by the GRA.
I refrained from making a public response to those reports earlier because my actions were linked to Guyana’s diplomatic relations and its pursuit of foreign investment that would be beneficial to the people of Guyana.
The Cabinet has now been fully briefed on this and other matters, currently in the public domain and it has been agreed that I make a public statement on this and other matters.
On Thursday March 17, 2016 representation was made to me by an official of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Guyana on an urgent matter affecting one of their national’s company operations in Guyana. I was advised that personnel of the GRA had gone to the premises of Bai Shan Lin in furtherance of a Tax demand by the GRA of G$1.5 billion dollars.
The GRA personnel were intent on seizing movable assets of the Company. The Chinese official explained that the principals of the Company were not in Guyana and requested a stay of execution of the GRA’s action for 14 days pending the return of those principals, at which time they would go into the GRA to settle their indebtedness. The Embassy officials also gave the assurance that none of the assets of the Company would be removed, during that grace period.
Considering the importance of Guyana/China relations and the urgency of the matter, I made contact with the GRA and requested the facility. This request was granted. At the expiration of the 14 days requested, the GRA proceeded with its work.