Govt to buy 20 luxury BMWs for Rio summit, CWC matches
Stabroek News
December 30, 2006

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The government is buying 20 luxury vehicles from the ICC CWC 2007 official sponsor BMW to use for the upcoming Rio Summit early next year as well as for use by the officials and sponsors of the ICC CWC 2007 Super Eight matches.

The vehicles would then be sold by public tender to interested buyers.

Asked whether the government was going to purchase BMW vehicles from the local dealer, President Bharrat Jagdeo said at his end-of-year press conference held at the Office of the President on Thursday that since the government was "getting some buses and stuff like that," only 20 vehicles were required and not 40 like some of the other host venues.

The 20 vehicles would also be adequate for the Rio Summit and would be acquired in time for the event. They would then be used for the CWC 2007 matches.

BMW, the German manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles is one of the most recent official sponsors to come on board for the hosting of the ICC CWC 2007 championships to be held in nine Caribbean countries during March and April next year.

Stabroek News understands that the BMW sponsorship required that every host country buy at least 30 BMW luxury cars. Another condition was that the cars be imported into the country duty-free which means the government stands to lose about $400 million in revenue. Initially, the government had turned the offer down to use cheaper cars after dealers of other automobile manufacturers objected because only one dealer stood to benefit.

Jagdeo explained that the government did not opt out of the deal but changed the terms. He said the local dealer wanted the government to import the vehicles and waive 75% of the taxes or some $400 million in taxes, which "would have led to a windfall to their dealer here."

Instead the government opted to buy the vehicles and sell them back on the local market "with the taxes so we would recover the money and much more," Jagdeo said.

He said that in a couple of weeks, advertisements for their sale would be in the public domain, "so if you want to own one of these BMWs, you could put in a bid and you can give us your money now. We sign an arrangement and as soon as CWC is over we will deliver the vehicle to you."

He said basically the government was advancing the money for the vehicles and recovering it from the sale of the vehicles. "So we don't have to give the single dealer all the concessions. If anyone has to get the concession it would be people who are putting in the bids," he said. (Miranda La Rose)