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GEA admits SBF fuel license revocation due to company ‘conduct’

The Guyana Energy Agency stopped short of admitting that it revoked the fuel importation and operations license of SBF International’s Inc. because of personality issues.

The GEA in seeking to dismiss allegations that it has revoked the Importing Wholesale License of SBF International’s Inc. due to racial discrimination, states that the revocation was caused by the company’s conduct.

The GEA’s decision to cancel SBF International’s Inc. was based solely on the company’s conduct and was in no way influenced by the Directors’ race,” the Chief Executive Officer, Mahender Sharma of the agency said. It added that the matter is in the court and the GEA will act in accordance with the Court’s decision. 

SBF International’s Inc. is led by Director Derwain Bess who has been engaged in a public back-and-forth with the GEA over the revocation of the company’s license. Bess alleges racial and economic discrimination but the GEA said all charges filed against Mr. Bess and his company are as a result of and wholly related to the breaches of the law committed by his company and him personally.

The energy agency added that “while the GEA empathizes with the employees, Bess and his company must be held accountable for their acts and omissions.

According to a detailed document on the engagement between the company and the GEA, the company was previously named Lynwil International Trading (Guyana) Inc. And received its license in 2011 to meet fuel demand in Region 1 only.  By 2014, the GEA approved a permit to for SBF to import fuel on a wholesale basis.

Between 2011 and 2018, the agency raised several concerns of infractions including various measurement discrepancies observed following markings. 

Action was taken and the company’s license was renewed in 2019. The company was found to be responsible for a spill in 2020 but after paying fine, was allowed to continue its operations.

The company’s license was cancelled effective September 14, 2020.  This was challenged by the company and is currently before the court.

The GEA said “despite coordinated and persistent attacks, will continue to execute its mandate in a fair and transparent manner, consistent with its legislation.

The agency maintained that the issue of the licence granted to SBF International Inc. and its cancellation are engaging the attention of the Court and any further action on this licence will be determined following the outcome of that matter.