Jul 30, 2013 News
…deep water harbour, road to Brazil, hydro among major projects slated
By Leon Suseran
President Donald Ramotar has said that he strongly believes that Guyana can move up to become a developed country. This, he said, will depend on the right infrastructure being put in place across the country, so that production levels can be raised and competitiveness increased, as well as producing more value- added products.
He stated that he will work assiduously during the remaining years of his Presidency to ensure that Guyana becomes a developed country.
He was addressing the Ninth Opening of Berbice Expo at Albion on Friday evening. The Guyanese Leader alluded to the time when Guyana was classified as a Heavily Poor Indebted Country (HPIC). It then improved to a Middle- Income Developing Country.
Ramotar said that while much work has been done during the past seven years to make Guyana more developed, the “historical task” now beckons to make Guyana a developed country. “And to do so, we have to ensure, we have to have the right infrastructure in place to raise production…and be more competitive and earn more for our products by having value- added…”
This feat, he said, is within our grasp.
In Berbice, he said, major changes have been taking place and much more are on stream. One of the things we need to do, he said, is to import and export goods in larger volumes so that the cost of living can be reduced.
“And one of the ways to do that is to create a deep- water harbour.”
At the moment, he said, only about 10,000 tonnes can be exported at a time. “We need to do much more than that so that we can cheapen our transportation costs.”
Government is also looking to link the road in Berbice to Brazil, “so that not only can we travel much easier…but we will be able to attract the imports and exports of North Brazil via Guyana and all of these offers the possibility for us to earn more to invest in our people and to build a stronger economy.”
He stated that the Amaila Falls hydro project should not be held “hostage.”
And that putting it before an international body for review and analyses for the appeasement of the Opposition would only be a time-waster.
Ramotar noted, too, that the project went through public bidding, which was evaluated by the IDB…”Yet we hear some people saying that it was a secret deal and now we are hearing that we should send it to an international body to evaluate…I will love to do that, but unfortunately we do not have the time.”
To do that, he said, will take time that will very well drive up the cost of the project “from between US$100-200M more! And those who are concerned with costs, must take that into consideration because it went through all the processes, and more over, it appears that some people believe that the world is waiting for us— it is not!”
The Guyanese leader stated that the Amaila Falls project has had “full disclosure on the project.” “In my short time as President of this country, we had the briefings with the opposition; full briefings— two briefings with the IDB with them, briefings from Sithe Global— all of these things happened— not only did we brief the parties in Parliament, but we briefed the private sector; labour; we talked to all and sundry about the project; so now, for some people to say that it is not transparent is far from the truth.”
Berbice, he said, must not only be satisfied with agriculture alone because the area has the ability, too, to develop an agro- industrial complex “to turn your agricultural raw materials into finished industrial products.” And to do so, the hydro power station is extremely important.
“As we get hydro power, we can cut electricity costs by some 40 per cent, meaning that if your light bill today is $10,000— with hydro— immediately— we can bring it down to $6,000!” much to the applause of the gathering.
He stated the ‘Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) operation and that the minimum life of a hydro station is 75 years, “that station will belong to Guyana in 20 years, meaning that for the next 55 years or more, our only cost for generation from that station will be its operating costs, which will offer enormous benefits to every sector of our country.”
The project, once on stream, will save Guyana a “huge” fuel bill. It is the biggest important we have, he said, “to generate electricity.” When hydro comes, he said, that we will have clean power, “and will save us more than US$90 a year in the importation of fuel…it runs into billions of Guyana dollars.”
“The money we save can be used to spend on other things the people need. Many other villages need streets, drainage— that we have to deal with the collection of garbage…that money alone can solve all our problems in one single year, so you can see that this project has a benefit for every single one, but the cheap energy we will have more investment in manufacturing goods.”
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