Government has confirmed its acquisition of CL Marine Ltd and its subsidiaries, a commercial drydocking facility located in the western coast of Chaguaramas, making it the newest state company.
CL Marine was part of the CL Financial group; that company is now in liquidation.
The company has been renamed National Marine and Maintenance Services Co Ltd, and is a wholly-owned state company under the Ministry of Finance.
Government is CL Financial’s biggest creditor after a $28 billion bailout financed by taxpayer dollars after the collapse of the Caribbean’s biggest conglomerate in 2009.
In a release Thursday night, Finance Minister Colm Imbert reminded people of the background of the liquidation. Government filed a winding up petition in the High Court in July 2017 and that September, the High Court ordered CL Financial Limited wound up under the provisions of the Companies Act and that international accounting firm, Grant Thornton would be appointed liquidators.
The release noted that the acquisition is part of Government’s diversification thrust, of which ship building and ship repairs is a targeted area. Government has appointed an interim board of directors comprising senior public officials, chaired by acting permanent secretary in the Finance Ministry Michelle Durham-Kissoon.
Other directors include Jennifer Lutchman and Savitree Seepersad, deputy permanent secretaries in the Finance Ministry and Nadira Lyder, who heads the ministry’s public-private partnership unit.
The board’s immediate mandate is to implement a proper governance structure according to the Companies Act and the State Enterprise Performance Monitoring Manual, the release said.
A partnership with a strategic private sector company, such as an experienced shipbuilder, will be explored in due course.
“It is expected that in addition to private sector customers, the shipyard will be utilised to maintain, service and repair the Government’s fleet of vessels, including the two new Fast Ferries, APT James and Buccoo Reef, and the two new Cape Class military vessels, under construction in Australia, the Galleons Passage, and the existing Coast Guard fleet, among others,” the release said.
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