Skeldon Estate takeover…Jagdeo says Opposition informed after secret MoU signedGovernment has denied any secrecy in a deal struck with a Trinidadian company for a possible takeover of the lucrative Skeldon Estate, a state entity under the management of the cash-strapped and heavily-indebted Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).The US$200 million Skeldon Sugar FactoryAt the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman pointed out that it was just a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conduct a feasibility study.“There is nothing here to sign the assets away, but it is just meant to conduct a study… There is no such thing as a secret deal… (and) so the mischief about a takeover and all that is just what it is – a mischief, false and should not be repeated and peddled,” the Minister noted.He went on to quote the document which states that, “The parties agree that this MoU constitutes a strategic liaison the company and GO-Invest intended to formulate and facilitate the development of a feasibility study for an integrated sugarcane processing facility for GuySuCo’s assets and related assets in Skeldon, Guyana.”According to Trotman, while the document has no confidentiality clause, Government is not aware that when it is entering into an MoU that it has to have members of the Opposition alongside to witness.Guyana Times broke the story on Tuesday that Trinidadian company D Rampersad and Company Limited (DRCL) was likely to rake in major benefits from the Guyana Government, including favourable tax incentives for the development of an integrated sugarcane processing facility at the Skeldon Sugar Estate, after the MoU was inked in December for the undertaking of a feasibility study.However, Trotman said that the Opposition, GuySuCo and the relevant unions representing sugar workers were also informed about the MoU. This was also disclosed by Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, when contacted on the matter earlier this week.“There was a meeting when we met with the Opposition and the unions … to try to get them on board for the way forward for GuySuCo. At that meeting, the question of the MoU came up and it was provided to the Opposition to look at. The Opposition is well aware of it, because it was given to them by the Government. So, I don’t know what is the secret deal; they have the MoU,” Holder explained.But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo in his criticism of the agreement pointed out that Government entered into this deal without any consultations with stakeholders beforehand.“They claim that this is without prejudice to privatisation. But if you have a secret Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with someone to assess the entity, then you are already giving one person an advantage over any person who may be interested if you decide to privatise. So they are busy working these quiet deals and one day we may wake up and find that one of the prized estates in Guyana is gone to a group that knows nothing about sugar or is on middle land without any public valuation of the land, no public tendering, but has acquired a deal by the Government,” he told media operatives on Wednesday.The Skeldon Sugar Factory, which is located on the Estate, alone is worth US$200 million, so the total value of the Estate would amount to billions. Jagdeo contended that this was one of the many actions of the Government which he considered “totally reprehensible”.“You do not speak with the parliamentary Opposition. You know, just recently, they called us in December, after everything else and told us they want to talk to us about it, but the secret MoU was already signed, now the story is in the news,” he outlined. The MoU was signed on December 8, 2016.The Trinidadian company reportedly has no experience with any agricultural enterprise, and provides engineering services to the automotive and oil industries in T&T. Notable, as well, is the fact that witness to the signing was Noel Rupie Shewjattan, the owner of Auto Fashion Store on Garnett Street, Campbellville, Georgetown. Auto Fashion Store also has no experience in the agricultural sector.The MoU seen by Guyana Times outlines that the company will be conducting a feasibility study, which is proposed to commence on April 3. DRCL is slated to benefit tremendously if its project proposal is approved by the current coalition Administration.According to the MoU, some expectations in the event a definitive agreement is entered into would include access to key infrastructure, favourable combination of tax incentives, and land for sugarcane cultivation and infrastructure.The company is also set to receive reasonable approval cycles, guarantees on minimum product take-off by the Government with respect to electric power and fuel ethanol, guaranteed pricing formulae and power export provisions.
After the resounding success of Sarkar, Thalapathy Vijay has moved on to his next flick, which is tentatively titled Thalapathy 63. This film marks the third collaboration of director Atlee and Vijay, after Theri and Mersal.Now, there seems to be a new addition to the cast of Thalapathy 63. Poovaiyar, a famous gaana (a popular type of folk music in Tamil Nadu) singer and a participant in the reality show Super Singer has been roped in to play a key role in the film. In addition to that, Poovaiyar will also be singing a song in the film.Thalapathy 63 has music composed by Oscar winner AR Rahman. Little Poovaiyar has got a golden opportunity to mark his debut in playback singing with a song composed by Rahman.Recently, he had composed an introduction song for Vijay, which is sung by Bamba Bakya. Last week, the makers shot the introduction song, with hundreds of kids taking part in the shoot.AR Rahman, in a recent interview, hinted that the film is a sports-based film along the lines of Lagaan and Pele. He said, “I have done films like this (Thalapathy 63) in Hollywood, but haven’t done one in South India. Director Atlee has seen films like Pele and Lagaan. He is a passionate person and his sensibility in music is good. He has listened to all my soundtracks and would ask for a particular type of music in his film.”Speculation is rife that Vijay plays the role of a football coach named Michael in this flick, produced by AGS Entertainments.advertisementThalapathy 63 also has Nayanthara, Yogi Babu, Vivek, Daniel Balaji and Anandraj in supporting roles.ALSO READ | Vijay waves at fans from Thalapathy 63 shoot, crowd goes crazy. Watch videoALSO READ: Priyanka Chopra is a breathtaking bride in new photos from Hindu wedding with Nick JonasALSO WATCH: 2.0 mania takes over India with Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar film release
Bonnier’s head of IT development, Tore Fjaertoft says, “We have adopted the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite as an integral part of our News+ platform. Leveraging the abilities to product and distribute digital editions of our daily newspapers using the Digital Publishing Suite has been a key element of the success of the News+ platform.” The Enterprise Edition of the Digital Publishing Suite is available as of today. Pricing is available via a custom quote through Adobe’s website. In other tablet news, Apple announced last week its newest version of the tablet, the iPad 2, at an event in San Francisco. The latest model of the iPad is lighter and thinner, and features front and rear end cameras. The tablet is available in black and white. Adobe announced the immediate availability of the Enterprise Edition of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite today. Already used by companies like Conde Nast, Dennis Publishing, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and National Geographic for Android technologies, the Enterprise Edition will also be adaptable for the RIM PlayBook and iOS tablets. The Enterprise Edition includes technology that will allow users to “create, distribute, monetize and analyze digital magazines, newspapers and publications.” The Suite incorporates a viewer builder service, an e-commerce service and a Folio Producer service, which will enable users to support content directly from Adobe InDesign CS5 software. The Digital Publishing Suite also allows direct entitlement with third party subscription fulfillment service providers. This gives publishers the ability to leverage current print accounts, increase digital subscription numbers and to create digital-print bundles as well as merchandising options.
InstagramBollywood’s power couple Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh have been flying high and how! The duo not only has given probably their career-best performance last year (Ranveer Singh as Khilji and Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmini in Padmaavat) but, also have established themselves as the most sought after stars in the filmy world.Right when their films had released, the industry had predicted that this year all the awards would belong to the two of them and rightly so! As the award season has begun so has the two taking home some shining awards.At the recently held Vimal Filmfare awards, Ranveer Singh won the best actor award. Deepika Padukone handed him the trophy to which, Ranveer Singh said, “This Black Lady (award) is very special to me, but this lady (Deepika) is the most special lady to have ever happened to me, I love you, are you proud of me?” He further added, “I dedicate this award to my nani as it was my nani as favourite character. One day I called my sister and asked what nani is doing, she said that nani is on terrace doing her favourite thing that is watching Padmavaat.”Ranveer won the award for playing Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat which went through a lot of controversies before its release. Ayushmann Khurrana won the Best Actor (Critics) award for Andhadhun. Despite a superlative performance, Deepika Padukone lost out to Alia Bhatt who won the Best Actress award for Raazi. Neena Gupta won the Best Actress award (Critics) for Badhai Ho.Alia Bhatt too proclaimed her love for Ranbir Kapoor while accepting the award. Bhatt called Ranbir her ‘special one’ and blew a kiss at him. Ranbir was left blushing with Alia’s special gesture of love.