Former President Bharrat Jagdeo says that on government’s permission he will release a copy of not only the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) contract but also a dossier of other documents pertaining to it.
“If (Minister of State Joseph) Harmon says tomorrow that they have no problem, I will…or maybe we can have a public ceremony to hand over all the documents they have already because they (APNU+AFC government) had seized all the documents from the Privatisation Unit (when they took office in 2015),” Jagdeo said on Tuesday when asked about the contract documents.
“… It is a fiduciary document. We were in government so we are in possession of copies of these documents, it is a fiduciary responsibility we have. We can’t go and give out this stuff just like this it is government property and we have a fiduciary trust too because we were there,” he added, explaining why he could not unilaterally release the documents.
Harmon had told the press as at July last year that govnerment still did not have a copy of the Amaila Falls and Specialty Hospital contracts.
“I can say this to Mr. Jagdeo, that there are some contracts that had so many confidentiality clauses that they are so deeply buried that until now we can’t see them and I make reference to at least two such contracts one is the contract of the specialty hospital that he spoke about,” Harmon was quoted by GINA as saying.
“The second one has to do with the Amaila Falls contract, never seen it, in fact while we were in the opposition, we were invited here to these offices to meetings and we were told by the Government that these are confidential arrangements and we are basically briefing you on some of them but where is the contract, where is it?” he also asked.
But Jagdeo was adamant that not only does government have the contracts, but so do Norway and the Inter-American Development Bank, which proves to him that government probably has the contract but has not read it as yet.
He pointed out that the documents pertaining to the contract number about 10,000 pages but that the information is also available in soft copy form.
Former President Donald Ramotar, told Stabroek News on Tuesday that not only was the contract in the current government’s possession but that a copy of all documents pertaining to the contract was also handed over while he was still in office.
He explained, “While I was President and in an attempt to impress upon the then opposition (the) importance of the project to the nation, I ensured they all were given all the documents. I invited them for a presentation on the project and its importance, then NICIL head Winston Brassignton was there and led the presentation. (Minister of Public Security) Khemraj Ramjattan was also there and I hope he can attest to this,” he said.
“I even went as far as saying that if they wanted, they could discuss the documents with their trusted technical persons and if any queries or (they) needed more information, come back to me and I would facilitate same. They never did,” he added.
The main parties in the governing coalition – APNU and the AFC – had been opposed to the 165 MW AFHP on various grounds including its US$858.1 million price tag.
However, Norway had appeared to favour the project and after the APNU+AFC government took office in May 2015, the two sides agreed to an “objective and facts-based” assessment of the AFHP for a decision on the way forward.
In Norconsult’s December 12, 2016 report, it was stated that the AFHP was the fastest way forward for Guyana to realise its green energy ambitions. Aside from hydropower being the best green energy project for the country, Norconsult pinpointed Amaila as the best hydropower prospect and adverted to 2012 findings by Verlyn Klass.
Since the report has been issued, the government has used it to buttress its position against the AFHP, although the overwhelming position of Norconsult is in favour of the AFHP.
Ramotar said that he found it hard to believe that govnerment would say that that it hadn’t the contract since Norconsult had used it as reference points in their report.
“How did the Norwegians get the documents? They had to have gotten it from the current government,” he posited.