Should make deadline despite four-month delay – Jagdeo
President Bharrat Jagdeo is optimistic that the Sophia/Kingston inter-connect high power cable will make its mid-year deadline despite a four-month delay in laying the groundwork.
Mr Jagdeo stated this during his most recent press briefing.
The installation of poles along the Lamaha Railway Embankment has been delayed ever since September last due to the unavailability of the poles.
This is according to Prime Minister Samuel Hinds who recently had to set the record straight as the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) sought to cast the blame on the fact that the squatters on the embankment have not all relocated. The Prime Minister said that this was not the case. Rather it was the unavailability of the poles, he said, and added that the poles could be installed while the residents were living there but that it is the installation of the power line that would be dangerous.
He added also that the contractor for the supply of the poles even had to approach him to seek assistance with the Guyana Forestry Commission, given that he had already harvested his plot of land, hence he could not supply the poles as yet.
The installation of the utility poles was supposed to have commenced in September, but according to Prime Minister Hinds, the delay will not stall the installation of the 21-megawatt (MW) plant at the Kingston Power Station and the entire project will be completed by the second quarter of this year.
The National Assembly has already agreed to have $40M extracted from the contingency fund to cater for the waiver of the house lot fees for the relocation of the residents as well as to provide any assistance in the relocation process.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, in April last year told media operatives that the steam turbine that previously generated electricity at Kingston would have to be dismantled to make way for the $200M investment.
The 21-megawatt power station would utilise heavy fuel oil. The previous calls for the removal of the squatters emanated from the Housing and Public Works Ministries, with the most recent being made prior to Cricket World Cup 2007.
In previous advisories issued to the squatters on the Railway Embankment along Lamaha Street in the city, they were told to relocate since they are occupying a Government reserve — an area that cannot be regularised for housing purposes.
In 2006, the Housing Ministry announced that it will continue to remove unoccupied structures and squatters from private property and Government reserves.
“People have been squatting on land that they have no right to occupy, and in a number of cases those persons have been allocated lots in alternative areas and have opted not to take up the lots,” the then Minister of Housing and Water, Harry Narine Nawbatt had said.
At the time, the Minister had pointed out that squatting on Government reserves impedes drainage, and that the Ministry would have been taking action shortly to remove squatters from several areas.
According to Chairman of the Board of Directors of Guyana Power and Light Inc., Winston Brassington, the Kingston plant is on schedule for completion by mid-year at which time it will be connected to the national grid via the Kingston/Sophia 69KVA interconnect cable.