SN readers may recall former President Jagdeo’s preference for referring to the Norwegian aid funds as ‘my money.’ Messrs Ramotar/Jagdeo also seem to think that the scanty justification for the Amaila Falls hydropower facility in the various versions of the Low Carbon Development Strategy from June 2009 to March 2013 was sufficient to liberate the Norwegian aid cash (‘Ramotar lobbying Amaila investors to stay -warns US$80M in equity could be lost,’ SN August 13, 2013). The operational manual of the Guyana REDD+ Investment Fund (GRIF) in chapter 3 indicates the mechanisms for funding projects.
Either a ‘fully developed, appraised Project Proposal’ or a ‘Project Concept Note’ is required for consideration by the joint Norway-Guyana steering committee of the GRIF. In spite of the more than four years since the start of the LCDS and in spite of a Norwegian grant of US$ 3.1 million to the Office of the President for ‘institutional strengthening’ just before the November 2011 election, the Office of Climate Change in the Office of the President has failed so far to develop a project concept note for the Amaila Falls US$80 million, let alone a fully developed and appraised proposal.
Instead of making a present to Sithe Global Power LLC of the Norwegian money, when the Office of the President still has little idea of the realistic and complete cost figures for the Amaila Falls hydropower facility or of the ability of GPL to pay Sithe’s gluttonous 19 per cent annually for 20 years plus the cost of the commercial-rate loans, etc, the Office of the President could write a project concept note (PCN) to use some of those US$80 million to develop a Green Paper for the National Assembly. The Green Paper, a conventional device in European parliaments, could review the options for the energy sector as a whole, review strategically the technical and financial management of GPL, and update the evaluations for generation of electricity from updated demand projections.
Given that the GRIF Secretariat already has the ‘boiler plate’ from previous project concept notes, the development of the PCN should be a matter of just a few hours’ work by the institutionally strengthened Office of Climate Change. Perhaps Norway would even be pleased to see a worthwhile proposal developed for the first time by Guyana rather than farmed out to IDB or UNDP as heretofore.