As the administration moves ahead with the Amaila Falls Hydropower plant, the PNCR is calling on the government to submit all proposals connected with the project to the National Assembly to ensure proper accountability and transparency.
PNCR Leader Robert Corbin said yesterday at a media briefing that the main opposition party will be submitting a motion in the National Assembly in an attempt to get answers to the various questions relating to the controversial granting of the US$15.4 million contract to Synergy Holdings Inc. PNCR-1G Parliamentary Chief Whip Lance Carberry said that while the party is in support of the hydro-power being pursued in the country, it has a problem with the “subterfuge of the Jagdeo administration,” and that this has benefitted the government’s “friends and cronies.”
Stating that the President of Synergy Holdings, Fip Motilall, is a friend of the President, Carberry said that it is known that for a number of years this company was appointed as sponsor of the project, “a role which many knowledgeable persons considered to be questionable.” According to him, “this role has now passed to Sithe Global Power, LLC, which has been described as an operation of electric generation facilities around the world.”
Carberry questioned the relationship between Synergy Holdings and Sithe Global Power LLC and asked what were the conditions agreed with Synergy Holdings for Sithe Global to take over the sponsorship of the Amaila Falls hydropower project. He noted that it was only in response to questions raised in the local media that the Finance Minister called a press conference on April 15 to address these concerns. While noting that it was stated that the road contract contains stringent provisions for timelines, submittals and liquidated damages and that a reputable engineering firm will be selected from four tenders to provide oversight for this project, Carberry questioned which firms were short-listed and what role the Ministry of Public Works will serve in selecting this firm.
Meanwhile, Carberry said that President Bharrat Jagdeo is quoted as stating that, “the equity partner in the project has already committed its share of US$130 million in the project and the government has set aside over US$20 million to undertake preparatory works.” Carberry also noted that President had said that “the Inter-American Development Bank and the China Development Bank have agreed to finance the US$450 million project” and that “the financing from the IDB and the China Development is not a loan to the government but to the project” but that because of the importance of the project, the government is engaged in the arrangements to finalise the financing.
Carberry questioned why the National Assembly had not been informed of the details of this arrangement, which would “impose obligations on present and future generations of Guyanese.” He also asked how the “creation of the necessary ‘reservoirs’ for the Amaila Falls hydropower project and any future hydro-power project fit with the commitments under the REDD+ obligations for the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). “It has become increasingly evident that the Jagdeo administration does not respect their need to conduct the business of the state in a manner that is transparent, while conforming to the requirements for accountability for the financial resources of the people of Guyana,” Carberry said. He pointed to “the continued glaring infringements of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and the marked reluctance to implement the constitutionally mandated Public Procurement Commission” as proof that the government considers itself to be above the Laws and Constitution of Guyana.
According to him, this is why “the President and his Ministers do not see anything wrong with their not submitting Audited Accounts for the funds from the 2005 Flood, the construction of the Providence Stadium, the holding of the Cricket World Cup, the holding of CARIFESTA X, or the refusal to submit the Lottery Funds to the Consolidated Fund.”