Aug., 25, 2013
The Kaieteur News article dated August 25, titled “Amaila Project—Government refused to make disclosures—APNU,” is another tale of distortion of the facts regarding the Government’s involvement of the opposition in the development of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.
Despite 18 months of consultations with the opposition, there has not been a single question put to the Administration that has not been answered. Can Messrs.’ Joseph Harmon, David Granger or Carl Greenidge put to the public, whether they submitted any questions to the Government on any of the three presentations made, and the numerous documents shared or the various economic studies? On March 2012, President Donald Ramotar encouraged the joint opposition to submit questions on the presentation within a two week period. No questions were ever submitted.
During this year the Government took it upon itself to share more information, yet no questions were asked. Further, the Government arranged for the opposition to meet with Sithe Global early last year, the IDB, and to visit the access roads under construction. These initiatives taken by the Government were not mandatory, they were voluntarily done to ensure inclusion, transparency and to keep members of the parliament abreast with the project.
Secondly, in early 2012 Government arranged for the opposition to meet with Sithe Global and hosted public presentations, which included a summary of the project’s financing structure, for the media. It is these same summaries that Mr. Harmon is referring to, yet there were never any questions. One can see many of these presentations on various websites including www.privatisation.gov.gy.
The Government would like to once again re-iterate the level of engagement it has had with the Opposition in its efforts to include and involve all political parties.
As stated in the GINA press release of August 10th, it should be noted that the following key engagements were undertaken to inform the opposition about technical and related matters of the project:
- Early 2012-Sithe Global meets with opposition and provided an overview of the project
- March 14, 2012- a detailed presentation was made at Office of the President by Government to joint Opposition; numerous questions were raised and answered. A copy of the presentation was shared so that further questions could be raised. HE requested that the opposition submit further questions and it was agreed that a two week timetable would be adequate. No questions were ever submitted.
- 2012 Budget debates- there was a Parliamentary discussion on the project.
- March 2013- an updated power point presentation was made by Government to the Opposition (only APNU attended). A copy of the presentation was given to the Opposition with a request for further comments and questions. Again, no questions were received.
- 2013 Budget debate- again, a detailed discussion was undertaken, including updates on the progress of the access roads.
- June 2013- a power point presentation was made to the Opposition by Government; this presentation contained key updates on the project. Government also shared three major agreements for the transaction:
- Power Purchase Agreement (PPA),
- Receivables Agreement (RA) \
- Implementation Agreement (IA).
Again, no questions were submitted, but a request to visit the Amaila Falls Access Road and certain economic reports were requested.
- June 2013- Government shared the Market/Economic Assessment reports prepared by Mercados Eneregiticos.
- June 2013- a visit to the access roads was organized by Min. Robeson Benn;
- June 2013-IDB met with the APNU to provide updates on the project; the meeting was described by the IDB as cordial with all questions answered.
- July 2013- continued engagements with the Opposition on legislation (Opposition focus continued to be on matters outside of Amaila.
- July- upon the request of the Opposition a meeting was arranged with GPL’s Management, despite a mutually agreed time, on the date of the meeting, APNU did not attend citing that the Economic Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee would be engaging in GPL and the Amaila Project during July.
- July 17th- an engagement with the IDB’s Caribbean Country Manager was arranged with the Opposition.
- July 18th- The joint Opposition in Parliament voted against the Bill and Motion to facilitate the continuity of the project.
- July 25th-Government convened a stakeholders’ consultation session on the Project.
- July 29th -President Donald Ramotar wrote the Leader of the Opposition David Granger to request continued legislative discussions pertaining to the Project.
- July 30th- Granger, acknowledged receipt of President Ramotar’s letter
- July 31st - Granger agreed to the Government’s recommendation to meet with Sithe Global and Blackstone. Government arranged the meeting but was not allowed to participate;
- July 31st -Government and Sithe Global engaged in a public workshop on the Project with detailed presentations made and all questions answered.
- August 7th- Government retabled the project’s Parliamentary matters; APNU, once again voted against them; AFC supported the legislations, but with a reduced guarantee ceiling.
In addition to the above consultations, Government is aware of various engagements by private sector organizations, Sithe Global, and other parties, with the Opposition. All of these engagements were intended to provide the Opposition with a better understanding of the project.
- Private Sector consultations by the project’s sponsor, Sithe Global
- Media consultations by Sithe Global
- Opposition consultations by Sithe Global
- Government of Guyana consultations with the Private Sector Commission
- Environmental consultations with all key stakeholders including indigenous people
The above is not exhaustive, but the facts are irrefutable:
- Sithe Global and Government have actively engaged the Opposition for over 18 months
- Government provided:
- Three technical presentations and various studies
- Major transaction agreements as noted above(PPA, RA, IA)
- Held three public workshops (one with Sithe Global),
- Arranged a visit to the Amaila Falls Access roads
- Arranged for APNU and AFC to meet the IDB on the project
- Supported and facilitated direct engagement with Sithe Global/Blackstone
To date, the Government of Guyana has not received any written questions from the Opposition. It is unacceptable that the people of Guyana must bear the burden for the Opposition’s unwillingness to cooperate and contribute the development of this nation.