Approval of a hydropower project must be based on a sound project profile and be value for money

Dear Editor,

The Amaila Falls Hydropower project is symptomatic of a wider problem. The real problem with Amaila Falls is the attitude of the previous PPP regime headed by Mr Jagdeo as it relates to development projects. The Jagdeo regime ushered in an era of arbitrariness and lack of accountability when it abandoned the procedure of preparing proper project profiles to access resources through the National Assembly.

When the PPP government had the majority they paid little or no attention to the concerns of the opposition or the people of Guyana. In the last parliament the late Winston Murray regularly demanded that the government respect the convention and prepare proper project profiles. This was to no avail.

The government’s response was to claim they had the mandate of the people having won a majority. Consequently, they ignored the calls of the opposition for proper project profiles and accountability, provided no details of the projects and used their majority and approved the funds regardless.

Had they won the majority in 2013 there would have been no problem since they would have used their majority in Jagdeoan style and gone ahead with their usual pomposity, done as they liked and voted money for Amaila regardless.

The reality is, they do not have the majority, compliments of the people of Guyana. They must face the reality, the people gave the majority to the opposition. The truth is Guyanese want hydro-
power. However, it must be based on a well prepared and sound project profile and must ensure that taxpayers get the best deal possible. Value for money.  What is required is not compromise between the government and opposition. What is required is for the government to do the right thing and prepare a proper project proposal. The opposition will then be left with no alternative but to support the project because it is the best thing for Guyana. Note, compromises do not necessarily result in the best deal. There can be a compromise and all it means is that the opposition gives its support to a bad deal.

The government should go back to the drawing board. They should develop a comprehensive project proposal that is well thought out, is the best deal for the people of Guyana, has little or no avenues for corruption and involves a transparent process. Should this be done President Ramotar would not have to beg for consensus. He will get support for a project that puts the interest of the people of Guyana first.

President Ramotar should break from the Jagdeo-style authoriatarian, secret deals and usher in a new era of good and transparent governance in Guyana.  All Guyana will welcome a new approach. More importantly, the government and opposition will have a sound basis for cooperation.

Yours faithfully,
Aubrey C Norton

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