Ingraham’s government has wielded its fist once again as it did with scores of anchor developments. The Prime Minister is now bent to destroy this time closing a Bahamian company. Bahamas Press has learned that Global United Limited and workers will join the list of businesses gone bust due to the decisions of the Ingraham administration.’
Bahamas Press warned some months ago that HUBERT INGRAHAM AKA MUGABE has done this to the Bahamian people, and that the hardship now felt throughout the company is the direct hand-making of INGRAHAM! Bahamas Press is not surprise that Ingraham has trod this road, even calling up on his bank manager at FirstCaribbean to stop the overdraft of the facility for Global United. Ingraham can careless if 210 more workers of this country has NO job. He is bent on closing the company, why? Because it is headed by a PLP!
Bahamas Press presents the press release of Global United CEO on yesterday.
Ingraham Government Appears Determined to Destroy Bahamian Company.
CEO confirms Government rejects all offers to settle outstanding debt and instead moves to wind up Company.
Nassau, Bahamas. March 24, 2009: Captain Jackson Ritchie, CEO and owner of Global United Limited (GUL) confirms today that the Government of Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham has rejected all efforts to settle the company’s outstanding debt and instead appears determined to destroy the 18 year old company, which had grown significantly in recent years. After several efforts to personally speak to or meet with the Prime Minister in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, were rebuffed, Captain Ritchie, who was the PLP candidate for the Clifton consistency in the 2007 General election, is now convinced the objective of the Ingraham Government must not be to recover outstanding taxes but to destroy another PLP, no matter the cost. Up until 2007 GUL was paying between $70 to $80 Million dollars a year into the Public Treasury on behalf of various clients. At any one time the company would be no more than 5-7% outstanding in it obligations to the Government, which by any business standard is more than acceptable. Shortly after agreeing to accept the nomination for Clifton, Captain Ritchie confirms he received a call advising that FNM operatives in the Ministry of Finance would use his company’s outstanding balance with Customs as a means of attacking him, Although Ritchie can’t confirm that it was initiated by “FNM” operatives, it was only a few days later when a letter was received, not from the Comptroller of Customs but from a previously unknown employee in the Public Treasury, demanding immediate and full payment.. As the Company did not have the resources to meet this demand it relied upon its Bank, First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB), headed by Managing Director, Ms. Sharon Brown, to continue allowing its overdraft facility to go as high as $5 million and issued checks based on this. Without notice in mid 2007 the Bank, which holds well over $20 million in assets as security, suddenly hardened its policy and return hundreds of checks, The majority of these were replaced within a short period with certified checks.. Additionally The Ministry of Finance had Customs put the company on cash basis and demanded payment in advance for all services. This severely damaged the company’s cash flow and caused it to fall behind in its payment to other vendors who then also demanded cash in advance. In additional to causing a great lost of business, in the later part of 2008, these events led to the company falling behind in it payments to the Bank.
Over the past 18 months GUL made several offers to settle with the Government, all of which were rejected, first by the same previously unknown employee of The Public Treasury and then by the Comptroller of Customs. Instead the Minister of Finance initiated legal proceedings and appeared bent on following these through to the end no matter what. Instead of wasting time fighting the lawsuits, the company continued to search for ways to arrange payments to the Government in order to settle the outstanding fees. It is to be noted that (1) if the Government had continued to allow GUL to operate as was the established practice, the current situation would never have arisen and (2) once it did occur, had they accepted one of the earlier payment plan offered, the balance would have already been significantly paid down.
Unlike the Government, FCIB, which is owed far more than the Public Treasury, demonstrated a willingness to work with the company and engaged KPMG Restructuring to review the business plans of the company to work its way out of the current situation and in due course pay all debts. These facts, along with a formal proposal, were forwarded to the Attorney General. Instead of indicating if the proposal was acceptable or not, the AG served the company with four Statutory Demands, asking for payment in full by March 26, 2009 or face winding up of the company. This reaction is very strange as the Government is aware that FCIB holds a fixed and floating debenture over all the assets of the company and its owner, and therefore any attempt to wind up the company would lead to foreclosure by the Bank leaving absolutely nothing for the Government or any other creditors. It is noteworthy that while governments around the world are bailing out companies in order to save jobs, this government will not even give forbearance to a major employer of its citizens. Even the Bank, which is fully secured and the company’s other major unsecured creditors see the benefits to all in allowing the company to continue to operate so that all debts can eventually be paid, however it appears the Minister of Finance, The Right Honorable Prime Minister, Hubert A. Ingraham, has a totally different agenda than collecting Public funds.
The Company notes with interest the various newspaper articles confirming that many other companies, both Foreign and Bahamian, owe the Government, collectively hundreds of millions of dollars in various taxes and fees, yet we know of no other situation where any of these are being targeted in the way this wholly owned, staffed and managed Bahamian company has been targeted.
Since this action against the company commenced, over 160 Bahamian staff, have had to be terminated and if no resolution is found to this situation the company will have to terminate the remaining staff, hand over all assets to the Bank and close its doors permanently on Friday March 27, 2009 The company will then be forced to pursue its option to bring a discrimination lawsuit against the Minister of Finance, the Comptroller of Customs and the Public Treasury.
Attached a proposal sent to Customs in January 2008 and subsequent responses. Other proposals were made and these will be released if necessary.
Click to Read Ministry of Finance Rejection Letter
January 15, 2008 – GUL Letter to The Comptroller of Customs Re: Proposal to settle our balance with The Customs Department.
January 28, 2008 – Letter of REJECTION from the Ministry of Finance, signed by one Joseph Mullings, the same person who sent the first demand in March 2007 referred to in Tuesday’s Press Release.
February 14, 2008 – Letter from the Comptroller of Customs once again REJECTING the proposal.
January 28, 2008 – Letter of Appeal to the Ministry of Finance, copied to the Comptroller of Customs and the Financial Secretary
GUL simply says it wants to Meet with the Minister to sort this matter out and save Jobs.