Letter is misleading: Sithe’s $157M was an investment not a loan

Dear Editor,

I am compelled to respond to a letter appearing in yesterday’s edition of your newspaper (SN, August 26) written by Asquith Rose and Harish S Singh.  I believe the following paragraph contained in that letter was carefully constructed and deliberately intended to mislead your readers:

“What we do know is that David Granger and APNU did the right thing by not voting for the Amaila Bill in parliament, and the people are clearly on their side. In joining with the PPP/C to vote for the bill, the AFC not only did the wrong thing but it appears as though they did not have the people’s interest at heart. If the AFC did have their interest at heart, then why would its leaders allow Sithe Global Inc to charge Guyanese a 19% interest rate when commercial lending interest rates in Europe and North America are less than half that amount?”

The first sentence contains the first lie.  There was never an Amaila Bill before the parliament and the authors of the letter are aware of this.  The second sentence uses this lie in order to imply that the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) parliamentary vote for two supporting measures for the project was a vote for the project in its entirety.  This lets them conclude in the next sentence that the AFC has allowed Sithe to charge an exorbitant interest rate.

Also in that sentence, the gentlemen deliberately misuse the term interest rate to refer to what is actually a rate of return on investment or equity.  They then repeat a similar line later down in the letter as follows:

“Further, if they had the people’s interest at heart, they would not have allowed Sithe Global to charge 19% interest rate on its loan of US$157 million to the Amaila project when the average commercial lending rate in North America and Europe is between 6% and 8%.”

In this instance they’ve added the word loan to strengthen their case.  I believe they both know that the US$157 million was an investment and not a loan, and therefore their comparison to average commercial lending rates is misleading.  Why not make the right comparisons so we can all be better informed?

Ultimately your readers will have to form their own conclusions, and in doing so it is hoped they will be guided by the facts and not influenced by such cleverly assembled half truths as contained in the above mentioned letter by Messrs Rose and Singh.


Yours faithfully,
Dominic Gaskin

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