Aug 13, 2013 News
Opposition Members of Parliament have called on Government to swiftly cancel the hydro licence that US developer, Sithe Global, had been operating with.
Over the weekend, Sithe Global, which was a key player in the development of the 165 megawatts Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project, announced its withdrawal.
There are fears that Sithe’s licence, currently in limbo, could be traded or sold, threatening the costs of any future development of the project.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) parliamentarian Jaipaul Sharma, has aired his concerns with respect to Sithe Global and its current position.
The entity announced its withdrawal from the Amaila project citing that consensus was not reached across the board by the three political parties in Parliament.
“It was not supported unanimously by all three political parties, a necessary prerequisite to the project receiving international development funds required to complete it. Thus, the project cannot move forward.”
Sharma has since expressed his concerns with respect to the licence that was initially granted to Makeswhar ‘Fip’ Motilall’s Synergy Holdings and subsequently transferred to Sithe Global to build the Hydro electric plant.
His concerns among other things are that the government should retake its licence from Amaila Falls Hydro Inc (AFHI) before they sell the licence to another company and “Flip” it and profit in the same way that ‘Fip’ Motilall did when he sold to Sithe Global.
Sharma believes that if Sithe Global decides to sell it, the company can do so to make a profit to offset the US$12M it had agreed to pay Motilall as well as the US$16M it would have already invested in the project.
This he believes will present a higher priced portfolio to Government for the development of the Hydro Electric Project
“These people have an agreement, they have a MOU, they have a licence, When they sell it back, they will sell it higher, just like how ‘Fip’ flipped it over and made US$12M, they will flip it to somebody else and the price will raise and the opposition will be blamed, because the price will raise, and it will go ahead, because they (government) will say it still feasible,” Sharma stated. Sharma had made reference to the Hydro- Electric Power Ordinance of 1956, while claiming that the government can retake the licence from Sithe Global.
“It doesn’t matter if the people (Sithe Global) have it for 50 years, if government within two years says you are not progressing as was planned, the government can take it back.”
Kaieteur News upon perusal of the Hydro-Electric Power Ordinance found under the cancellation of licence that it can be done, if among other reasons, there is “non-compliance with or non-observance of any term or condition contained in the licence.”
Financial analyst Christopher Ram has expressed similar sentiments in his articles penned “Plainly speaking let us give Sithe the BOOT”
His analysis can be viewed on his internet portal, chrisram.net where he spoke to 10 specific activities that the interim licence requires for completion by Sithe Global to deem it worthy of the final licence. Of these, Ram says that five that are yet to be completed are not, and a few are with status unknown. Ram argues that “the government must act with haste to ensure that the very licence is not transferred to another company”
Member of Parliament and financial spokeperson for APNU, Carl Greenidge, when asked about the state of the licence during a press briefing yesterday said “the obvious thing to do, the sensible thing to do at this point in time, and even the prudent thing to do, would be for the government to cancel the licence and give themselves the breathing space to put together a proper package.”
He says that to simply leave it in the hands of Sithe to do whatever it wishes “can’t be an acceptable way of proceeding.”
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