The lack of transparency and accountability of the Jagdeo Administration is once again illustrated by the mystery surrounding the granting of the US$15.4 M contract, to Synergy Holdings (a company owned by a friend of the President, Mr. Fip Motilall), for the upgrade of approximately 85 kilometers of existing roadway, the design and construction of approximately 110 kilometers of new road, the design and construction of two new pontoon crossings (or bridges) at the Essequibo and Kuribrong Rivers, as well as the clearing of a “corridor” for the installation of a 65-kilometre transmission line.
The PNCR has never questioned the need for the development of the vast Hydropower resources of Guyana, for the provision of cheap and reliable “clean energy”, for the industrialisation of Guyana, through the forward integration and processing of our rich natural resources endowment.
The problem, however, is the subterfuge of the Jagdeo Administration, along with their “friends” and cronies, operating in the “Carpet Bagger” traditions of the old American Wild West.
The Administration displays a remarkable sensitivity to the questioning of any of their secretive deals with their friends and cronies.
However, like it or not, the PNCR will continue to question and probe these matters until the President and his cohorts understand and accept that the resources of the state belong to all of the people of Guyana and should not continue to be treated as if they are the property of the Administration to be used to grant favours to enrich themselves and their corrupt acolytes.
It is known that for a number of years, Synergy Holdings was appointed as the sponsor of the Amaila Falls Hydropower project, a role that many knowledgeable persons considered questionable. The role has now passed to Sithe Global Power, LLC, which has been described as “an international development company engaged in the development, construction, acquisition and operation of electric generation facilities around the world.”
What is the relationship between Synergy Holdings and Sithe Global Power, LLC?
What were the conditions agreed with Synergy Holdings for Sithe Global to take over the sponsorship of the Amaila Falls Hydro- Power project?
WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE?
Questions have been raised in the Kaieteur News and other media about the qualifications, competence and record of accomplishment of Synergy Holdings to undertake this contract. It has only been, in response to the media exposure that the Minister of Finance headed a hurriedly called Press Conference, which was extensively reported in the Guyana Chronicle of 16 April 2010.
It is evident that the Administration needs to provide the evidence to confirm its assertion that the “Synergy Holdings proposals was assessed as being the most compliant, viable and lowest priced, with the components of the proposal showing a clear understanding of the project scope and a comprehensive work plan of the activities in order to achieve the eight months deadline.”
In addition, the Minister of Finance stated, “The road contract, which was executed with Synergy on March 18, 2010, contains stringent provisions for timelines, submittals, and liquidated damages, and a reputable engineering firm to be selected from four tenders will provide general oversight of the works carried out by Synergy.”
Which firm(s) have been short-listed or selected for this task? Does the Ministry of Works have any role in the process of selecting the firm?
President Jagdeo stated, “The equity partner in the project has already committed its share of US$130 million in the project and the government has set aside over US$20 million to undertake preparatory works.”
In addition, he has confirmed that “the Inter-American Development Bank and the China Development Bank have agreed to finance the US$450 million project.” The President added, “The financing from the IDB and the China Development Bank is not a loan to the government but to the project. However, because of the importance of the project, the government is engaged in the arrangements to finalise the financing.”
Why has the National Assembly not been informed of the details of these arrangements, which would impose obligations on present and future generations of Guyanese?
How does the creation of the necessary “reservoirs” for the Amaila Falls Hydropower project and any future other Hydropower project fit with the commitments under the REDD+ obligations for the LCDS?
It has become increasingly evident that the Jagdeo Administration does not respect their need to conduct the business of the state in a manner that is transparent, while conforming to the requirements for accountability for the financial resources of the people of Guyana.
The continued glaring infringements of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and the marked reluctance to implement the constitutionally mandated Public Procurement Commission provide ample evidence that the Administration considers itself to be above the Laws and Constitution of Guyana.
Consequently, the President and his Ministers do not see anything wrong with their not submitting Audited Accounts for the funds from the 2005 Flood, the construction of the Providence Stadium, the holding of the Cricket World Cup, the holding of CARIFESTA X, or the refusal to submit the Lottery Funds to the Consolidated Fund.
Similarly, the people of Guyana are still awaiting the Government to inform us all what are the terms and conditions for the transfer of the Berbice bauxite resources to RUSAL. Why have they been granted total control of the Berbice bauxite reserves?
The people also need to be told about the financial and other arrangements for the granting of the Linden bauxite resources, particularly Block 37, to BOSAI.
In the face of the present Synergy controversy, the Minister of Finance had the temerity to use the Berbice River Bridge as an example to support his case that the Media is being unfair. What he should be explaining to Guyanese is whether the arrangements for that project meet the criteria for transparency?
The PNCR would always be supportive of the transparent and accountable use of our national patrimony for the development of Guyana, for the benefit of all Guyanese. This, however, requires that there should be full disclosure to the people of Guyana at all times. Consequently, it is now necessary for all Hydro Power proposals and the associated agreements to be submitted to the National Assembly of the Parliament of Guyana.
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