KINGSTON:The fourth annual CB Group UWI 5K Run/Walk and Smart Eggs Kids K is all set for tomorrow.Various stakeholders will run and walk in aid of student development at the University of the West Indies (UWI). Warm-up is expected to begin at the UWI Bowl at 6 a.m., with race time scheduled for 7 a.m. sharp.Patrons are encouraged to arrive by 6 a.m. for ease of parking, which will be facilitated on the University campus.Since its inaugural staging in 2012, the CB Group UWI 5K has raised over $38 million towards student development. The event is tailored for all generations and that is further emphasised with the running of the Smart Eggs Kids K for children 11 and under.The Kids K is scheduled for 8 a.m., following the 5K, to ensure parents and friends alike can join in cheering on the younger generation as they race the circumference of the combination of cricket and football fields at the Bowl.The race will be officially timed by Running Events’ My Laps bib tag timing system.Elizabeth Buchanan-Hind, executive director for the Institutional Advancement Division in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor and head of the 5K organising committee, is expecting another well supported, safe event.”We are expecting a great turnout as the university community has really bought into the event. The clubs, societies, halls, as well as commuting and alumni body, have all shown interest and the numbers continue to grow,” she said.”The Bowl will be ready to welcome the turnout comfortably and safely. Last year was incident free, and we expect no less this year, especially with our partners Running Events managing the race and officiating it will be of international standards,” said Buchanan-Hind.The 2015 edition of the race is being held under the co-patronage of Douglas Orane, CD, and Donette Chin-Loy Chang. To date, the race has helped the University of the West Indies offer over 75 scholarships to students and from part of the 2014 proceeds donated a thermocycler machine to the Jamaica Kidney Kids Foundation.The CB Group UWI 5K and Smart Eggs Kids K will seek to double the number of participants to continue funding the scholarship initiative and student-development activities at the UWI.
0M fertiliser dealFollowing the pronouncements made by a Director on the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jinnah Rahman, that the $420 million fertiliser contract that Cabinet approved to HDM Labs to supply fertiliser was a “return” on political investment, done secretly and that its principal Hardat Singh should be investigated, Singh has since responded to Guyana Times, seeking to refute such claims while insisting “The contract is currently in full force and effect.”Singh outlined that around October of 2015, HDM Labs offered to supply “5000 metric tonnes of fertiliser” to the GRDB at G$4160 per kg bag ($US400 per metric tonne), which he posited was 25 per cent cheaper than what was on the local market. GRDB “accepted their offer” and a contract was executed for such.“As part of the commercially negotiated terms, and consistent with HDM Labs’ worldwide terms, HDM Labs requested that payment be secured by a transferrable irrevocable letter of credit, 50 per cent to be paid on the issuance of the purchase order, 40 per cent upon arrival at port, and 10 per cent after receipt. These terms were in no way negotiated due to any financial constraints or unavailability of products,” said Singh.On April 8, however, the GRDB issued a statement that contradicted the last assertion of HDM Labs. “The supplier requested that the Letter of Credit be irrevocable and transferable; which suggested that a supply from this source was not immediately available.”In a letter to this publication, Singh related that “almost immediately upon HDM Labs’ execution with its contract with the GRDB, despite being kept at above G$5500 a bag for an extended period, retailers lowered their market prices in order to compete with the price of urea being supplied by HDM Labs.”General Manager of the GRDB Nizam Hassan had used almost identical language on April 8, in addressing his silence on the issue which was making it rounds across the entire media landscape, that the price for urea fertiliser at that time was between $5500 and $6500 per bag but “when local suppliers became knowledgeable of GRDB’s attempt to reduce the cost of fertiliser to farmers for supply of urea, the price immediately fell from $1000 to $2000 per bag.”Guyana Times understands that around the same time period – November 2015, to the present when HDM Labs made their offer – world prices for the commodity dropped by 20 per cent. As such, it is possible that the drop in local prices were due to the decline in world prices of urea.According to the HDM Labs President, “HDM Labs made the necessary arrangements for 5000 tonnes of urea to be available at port for transport to Guyana, that cargo currently awaiting approval from the GRDB to be shipped.”This approval would appear to be up in the air at this time since Nizam highlighted that “while payment for the fertiliser was by Letter of Credit established through a local commercial bank, the supplier requested that the Letter of Credit be irrevocable and transferable.” And this last requirement cannot be complied by local banks because of local money laundering laws.As such, Nizam said “GRDB continued to monitor the supply and prices of urea on the local market and has been in constant communication with HDM Labs Inc, since the supply of this commodity can no longer be considered urgent and immediate.” It is not know how the GRDB could comply with the requirement for a transferable irrevocable letter of credit, if, in fact HDM demands payment for “available” fertiliser.Singh in his correspondence to Guyana Times highlighted that he is not an “investor” or “campaign financier” of the Alliance For Change (AFC) or the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) but a “philanthropist” and listed some of the companies that he contributed to in a philanthropic way.General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj; however, had alleged in a press briefing months ago that Cabinet approved a contract for the procurement of $420 million in fertiliser from a “known campaign financier of the AFC/APNU collation”. He also alleged that the contract was not tendered nor advertised and Government’s actions were “in direct contravention of the laws, norms and conventions applicable to the acquisition of farmers’ inputs.”GRDB Director, Rahman had explained to this publication that the alleged $420 million contract fell apart because Hardat Singh could not supply the fertiliser, since he did not have the financing to do so and wanted an advance payment on the contract from the bank to be able to deliver the goods, “that’s why he asked for the Letter of Credit to be irrevocable and transferable”. As stated before, GRDB’s General Manager Hassan pointed out, “the local bank only provides the service of irrevocable Letter of Credit which is not transferable.”Hardat Singh in his defence said that he “has never filed for bankruptcy or defaulted on any payment,” and that he is “extremely solvent and being able to effortlessly simultaneously consummate several multimillion-dollar contracts.”According to Singh neither himself nor “HDM Labs have been subject to investigations, or involved with or accused of money laundering, fraud or otherwise since the formation of HDM Labs or at all,” refuting the claims made by the GRBD Director Rahman, who had said that Singh should be investigated “since he is in receipt of information which shows that Singh was convicted in the USA on charges of fraud and money laundering.”Singh asserted that neither he nor his company HDM Labs “are in any way affiliated with, owners or silent partners of, or investors in the entertainment or hospitality industry, and specifically are in no way affiliated with “Spice Restaurant” located in Queens, New York, other than Mr Singh being a patron of the same.” He also said that “HDM Labs does not do business in China nor does it own or operate any Chinese enterprise, or have any Chinese store trading front or otherwise.”