Business mogul Derek Chin has dreams of bringing, to Guyana, the Movietowne mall and multi-cinemas experience which many have come to know and love in the Caribbean.
But last week, the Guyana-born Chairman of the MovieTowne enterprise complained to the media that his dreams are yet to be realized due to a number of bureaucratic challenges.
In this regard, the Chairman said that the opening of MovieTowne multi-cinemas at Turkeyen was stalled since equipment needed for the project was being held up at the wharves for weeks. He said that such delays, among other factors, have pushed the cost of production from US$25M to US$40M.
But the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) does not agree with Chin’s version of the truth.
In an effort to bring clarity to the matter, GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia told the Guyana Standard that in 2017, the principal of Movietowne met with the authority to discuss the issue of concessions. Statia said that, at that meeting, Chin was told of having access to concessions for which he had no papers.
Chin agreed and made a request for concessions to be backdated to the commencement of construction. Statia advised Chin that concessions cannot be backdated and should have been applied for prior to construction.
The tax chief said, “GRA also advised the principal that equipment used in the construction of Movietowne was in breach of the terms of an Investment Development Agreement (IDA) since based on the said IDA, equipment was earmarked for another major project was being utilized in its construction.”
Notwithstanding this breach, Statia said that GRA agreed that only upon completion of the Movietowne project, will the GRA proceed with the available remedies of the said breach.
As it relates to equipment needed for the project, Statia said that MovieTowne waited until the container was at the wharf to apply for the concessions. Statia said that Movietowne’s container arrived at the wharf on October 21, 2017. Chin made an application for a Prior to Processing (PTP) arrangement on November 19, 2017 to allow the goods to be cleared. The application was approved and the goods uplifted on November 28. Statia stressed that there were no delays on GRA’s part.