Steven Grin is not a presidential advisor but is a leading figure in the Office of the President’s Project Management Office, and he played a key role in ensuring that the recent construction agreement on the Amaila Falls Hydro project was signed.
This is according to Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon, in response to questions as to who Grin was, after a Government Information Agency (GINA) report had described him as an Office of the President (OP) advisor. The agreement was signed on Tuesday in Xian, China by Sithe Global and China Railway First Group (CRFG) and Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh
After stating that the team in China, which included Grin, did not travel there with an understanding to sign, Luncheon said “I wasn’t aware that he was a presidential advisor… GINA was quite generous in his designation of what he actually was but he has played quite a significant role.”
He said that because of its nexus with Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF), the Amaila project had also fallen within the scope of the Project Management Office at OP.
According to Luncheon, Grin was “concentrating on bringing home the goose. Getting the hydro project and meeting all of our deadlines. I am certain that he is equally as pleased as we are with the results that took place in China.”
Luncheon noted that the signing is an important step which will allow Guyana to move from a fossil fuel dependent economy to one that would now rely primarily on renewable energy.
Later responding to questions on the road to the falls which has to be completed by mid next year, he said that the road has its own difficulties. “I think that we are energised by what has happened with the signing of this agreement even though things didn’t happen the way we planned where this road is concerned. It had not gone according to the script, but I think armed with what we have achieved and the way it has lifted our spirits I think it has brought additional energies to this equation.”
The Amaila Falls Hydropower project is a private sector project involving the construction of a hydropower plant at Amaila Falls on the Kuribrong River in the Cuyuni/Mazaruni with 165MW peak capacity, clearing an area of 27km2, as well as a 278km transmission line linking the plant to hubs in Linden and Georgetown. Government is contributing equity to the project.
The hydropower project began amid controversy when the government awarded a US$15.4 million contract to Fip Motilall’s Synergy Holdings Inc to construct the access road. After delays, the government eventually cancelled the contract in January this year.
From the outset, the contract awarded by the Bharrat Jagdeo administration, had been the source of major controversy. It was argued that Motilall had never built roads of the type he was being awarded and that he should never have gotten the contract. Despite this, the contract was awarded and from the very start he fell behind contract deadlines.