US sanctions on Russian tycoon…potentially devastating blow to industry – JagdeoAs the United States (US) sanctions against Russian business tycoon Oleg Deripaska, who is the main owner of the EN+ conglomerate, which is the co-owner of Rusal begins to sink in, the local operation in Guyana has significantly scaled back on its exportation of bauxite. This is according to President of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU) Lincoln Lewis.Lincoln LewisRusal is one of the largest aluminum producers in the world and has operations here in Guyana in the form of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI), employing over 500 persons. According to reports, the sanctions against Rusal have caused aluminum prices to surge since the sanctions freeze all of the company’s assets under the US jurisdiction.Lewis, in a telephone interview on Saturday with Guyana Times said the Union is still analysing the implications of the sanctions in the Guyana context and would be requesting a meeting with the Natural Resources Minister in the coming days.“We have to make an assessment of how the sanctions will impact Guyana as a country and the effect it will have on Rusal’s operations here. We are monitoring the operations of Rusal and what we do know is Rusal has virtually scaled back on their shipment of bauxite out of Guyana,” Lewis said.“We have to continue to analyse the situation and right now we will be seeking a meeting with the Government. As a matter of fact, on Monday we will be dispatching a letter to the Ministry (of Natural Resources) to have a meeting with the Minister and see how we will move forward,” Lewis added.When contacted, a senior manager at Rusal again said they are yet to receive word from their Moscow Headquarters as it relates to their operations but did confirm the company has scaled back on its exportation of bauxite.Devastating blowMeanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at a press briefing on Friday said a “potentially devastating blow” could be dealt to the bauxite workers, particularly those in the Berbice River area.“We are talking about over 900 people who may be depending on how the issues go and from what I understand it is really those jobs that are all seriously threatened, and this is because of the consequences of the US sanctions on Rusal. So many of the companies with which they are engaging, particularly the transhipment company have already signalled reluctance to continue to service the operations,” he said.“Our Government is silent on it. Our President would fly off to London and leave the fate of thousands in uncertainty, so it would affect New Amsterdam as well as the Berbice River and all of Region 10,” Jagdeo added.Meanwhile, Oldendorff Carriers, which handles the shipping logistics for Rusal has reportedly given noticed to withdraw its service as a result of the sanction. Oldendorff Carriers is located in the Berbice River. However, the company has recently announced that transshipment arrangements with Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc remains intact.Deripaska has also been charged in US special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation regarding Russia’s involvement in the 2016 US presidential election.Last week, the US Treasury Department announced the sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they either owned or controlled and 17 senior Government officials, who Washington said were profiting from the Russian Government’s engagement in “a range of malign activities” around the world.The Treasury Department warned that US entities would be “generally prohibited” from dealings with the persons and firms on the sanctions list, while added that companies outside the United States could face sanctions for “knowingly facilitating significant transactions for or on behalf of” the sanctioned entities.The US Government’s decision to include Deripaska on its sanctions blacklist will reverberate around the world because his business empire has a global footprint and counts major multinationals as partners.Deripaska, estimated by Forbes magazine to have a net worth of $6.7 billion, is the main owner of the conglomerate EN+, which in turn is the co-owner of some of the world’s biggest metals producers – Rusal and Nornickel.Deripaska’s inclusion on the US sanctions list could potentially create complications too for companies with which he does business; including German car giant Volkswagen and commodities trader Glencore.Rusal had said it regretted its inclusion on the US sanctions list, adding that its advisors were studying the situation. Hong Kong-listed Rusal is one of the world’s biggest aluminium producers. It says exports to the United States account for over 10 per cent of its output.Rusal owns assets in Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Nigeria, Guyana and Guinea. It owns a stake in Australian QAL, the world’s top alumina refinery.
SIMI VALLEY – While every candidate at the first Republican presidential debate Thursday night jockeyed to become the political heir to President Reagan’s legacy, John McCain showed why he may be the spiritual heir in Nancy Reagan’s heart. Moments after the debate, as he removed his wireless microphone from inside his suit jacket behind the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the Arizona senator noticed a shiny dime on the floor. He bent down for a closer look, then kept walking past the coin. The dime was lying heads down, and picking up coins that are tails up is a no-no for McCain. “Am I superstitious? I’m that,” McCain said, walking with his wife, Cindy, and entourage to the candidates’ reception. “But I don’t think I’m alone there.” At the Reagan Library, McCain, who says he has been superstitious since he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, had come to the right place. In his 1965 autobiography, Reagan admitted he was superstitious and read syndicated horoscopes, and Nancy said she did, too. The former president observed such superstitions as always putting a lucky coin and gold charm in his pocket each morning, knocking on wood, never walking under ladders and tossing salt over his left shoulder when he spilled some. Not surprisingly, Reagan cast a long shadow in the debate where his name and character were mentioned often by each candidate – and the shadow loomed just as big afterward in the “Spin Room” where high-profile supporters of each candidate sought to “spin” the debate in their favor. Bill Simon, the one-time California gubernatorial candidate, stumped for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and how he typified the traits of Reagan. “Mayor Giuliani demonstrated that he has the strength to lead the country in the best tradition of Ronald Reagan,” said Simon, speaking to reporters in a noisy large room packed with spin-meisters of each candidate surrounded by microphones, recorders and cameras. Selling candidates In almost every instance, it was not just one spin-meister for a candidate but several of them. Some, such as Simon, were politicians. But others were political consultants and advisers working for those candidates. Each of the spinners was shadowed by an anonymous staffer holding up high a printed poster identifying the spinner and his affiliation. In some instances, you had the candidates themselves selling how well they had done, as in the case of Texas congressman Ron Paul doing every local television interview he could to heighten his name recognition, which undoubtedly took a big jump with the debate. For his part, Giuliani looked like a prizefighter proclaiming victory immediately after a bout. In the men’s room behind the stage, Giuliani smiled as he received pats on the back and words of congratulations. “I did well, if I say so myself,” he said. Giuliani and the other candidates were all headed after the debate to a celebratory dinner hosted by Nancy Reagan, who was escorted there – as she was into the debate hall – by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Several invited guests said that while they had been pleased with the debate, the show-stopper may have been the Reagan Library itself. With its presidential history and its hilltop views of the Ventura County mountainsides, it symbolized Ronald Reagan Country and the hold it has on the locals. Steve Grindley, 31, of Simi Valley has been an executive chef with the food company that caters all events at the library, and he has been a regular at these functions since its opening. “They’ve all been great, but the best event, without a doubt, was President Reagan’s funeral,” Grindley said. “There were senators and heads of other countries, and you were seeing an American president laid to rest. “It was part of history.” No true winner Back in the Spin Room, the selling of the candidates went on. Most spin-meisters acknowledged that in a debate with so many candidates, declaring a true winner was impossible. No candidate had made a monumental goof, and they all defended the hard-line positions the candidates took on such issues as Roe v. Wade and immigration. Spin-meisters for the top-tier candidates – Giuliani, McCain and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – said their respective men had handled themselves well. “The governor showed himself to be not only knowledgeable but specific on the issues, especially on foreign affairs,” Missouri Sen. Jim Talent said. McCain’s handlers were even more enthusiastic in talking about the former POW and his own passionate vow to chase after Osama bin Laden. “John McCain has committed to leaving no stone unturned in fighting terrorism,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the country’s first Homeland Security secretary. “As he said in the debate, he will follow bin Laden to the gates of hell.” The only awkward moment in the Spin Room came when the sensitive issue close to Nancy Reagan’s heart – support of embryonic stem cell research – came up. Moderator Chris Mathews had raised the subject with each candidate during the debate. Only McCain pledged his unqualified support. “Will that come back to haunt the other candidates?” spin-meister Simon said rhetorically to the question in the Spin Room. “I wouldn’t think so.” Meanwhile, away in the dining area, guess who Nancy Reagan saved the biggest hug for. email@example.com (818) 713-3761160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!