Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh this evening announced that the government will hold another session on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project on Wednesday and the developer Sithe Global will be present.
In a statement he also charged that confidential information which had been given to the opposition on the project has been surfacing in public.
With the opposition nixing two Amaila matters in Parliament earlier this month government has said the project is in jeopardy. The opposition insists that the government has not provided enough information and key questions such as the tariff to consumers remain unanswered.
The statement follows:
Re: Opposition given ample opportunity to scrutinize Amaila information: Now using information opportunistically.
Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh is expressing unease that the joint Opposition over the last 18 months, failed to raise any follow up questions or presentations regarding the Amaila Falls Hydro Power (AFHP) project:
“We had three technical presentations—first in March 2012, then in March 2013, then in June 2013; we shared the 3 major agreements for the transaction along with the legislation; we had visits to the road; we had the Caribbean Country Director for the IDB meet the Opposition on July 17th; we had the debate on July 18th.
Despite President Ramotar requesting questions and offering to have its advisors answer questions, the joint Opposition did not raise any or seek answers outside of these discussions.
Amaila Falls is being progressed as a public-private partnership. But first and foremost, this is a private sector led project, and much of the information is commercially sensitive and confidential until the transaction is finalized. Since the Opposition voted against the project, confidential information provided only to the Opposition is now being disseminated opportunistically.”
On July 18, 2013 the GoG debated in the National Assembly, a necessary amendment to the Hydro-Electric Bill and a motion to increase the debt ceiling to facilitate the funding and development of the Amaila Hydro Power Project. The Opposition did not explain their decision to vote against these matters or even participate in the debate.
Since the legislative actions were rejected, it is disappointing to see information that was only provided to the joint Opposition during consultations now making its way into the public domain.
These documents remain private and confidential as they are the property of a private company which has chosen to work with the GoG and the joint Opposition to see this project to fruition. Such actions will result in major international investors being more cautious in the future about sharing sensitive information with the GoG for fear that it can be made public at any time during negotiations. If investors cannot trust the leaders of a nation to respect the confidentiality of sensitive information, how can they gain confidence in investing in Guyana?
The GoG will have a follow up engagement on Wednesday, July 31 at 3PM at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal where both Sithe Global and the GoG will provide a technical presentation on the project and respond to questions posed by the public.