By Keeran Danny
“The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project has been utterly destroyed and is no longer available to Guyana and its citizens. This outcome has isolated the Parliamentary Opposition, divided their supporters and activists and exposed to Guyanese of all walks of life the machinations of the opposition”.
This notion was expressed by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon during his post Cabinet press-briefing at the Office of the President, on Wednesday.
He noted that Government is still proceeding with the construction of the Amaila Falls access road. In fact, construction is still ongoing pending a decision on its future.
“Even though the designed Amaila Falls Hydropower Project indeed, and for all intents and purposes, died this most unnatural unexpected death, there may yet be a purpose to which that road would be put…”
Construction of the Amaila Falls access road began in 2010 by Makeswhar ‘Fip’ Motilall’s Synergy Holdings Inc for US$15.4M. Continuous extensions of the project and Motilall’s failure to secure a performance bond resulted in Government pulling the plug on Motilall’s involvement with the project. However, since that contract termination the project has encountered different contractors and the cost is expected to double.
According to Dr. Luncheon, one of the contractors currently involved in constructing the Amaila Falls access road is China Railway First Company Limited that was identified to construct the Hydropower Plant.
He said that ongoing work on the road to the Kuribrong River is being supported by taxpayers. “And a decision would have to be made subsequently whether that falls victim as the designs of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project have fallen victim to the Opposition action,” he said.
Another area of concern by observers was Sithe Global (the developers of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project)’s possession of a licence to pursue hydropower development in Guyana, even though they pulled out of the project.
Observers are concerned that Sithe Global could resell the licence in the same manner it obtained the licence from Motiall.
Synergy Holdings Inc was granted an Original Interim Licence on July 29, 2002, just over 11 years ago, for the development of a Hydro-electric power station and reservoir and the setting up of a transmission line to the coast to sell electricity.
Following some extensions, Synergy went to Sithe Global as the proposed investor for the project. By a series of further extensions, a Tenth Supplementary to Interim Licence was granted to Amaila Falls Hydro Inc.
“I am not certain what a licence of a dead project actually confers, what it actually means, but I would want to believe it means nothing,” Luncheon said.
He added that unless the contractual agreements explicitly state for residual action to be taken, “they all die with the death of the project”.
Dr. Luncheon stated that apologists have surfaced, attempting to “render comprehensible the incomprehensible”.
“The evolution of their explanations and the variety of explanations that have been offered to Guyana is patent proof of their insolvency…Not only have Guyanese seen their contempt, but our bilateral partners, international friends and supporters have all been treated with disdain by the act of the Opposition or their responses to the entreaty of these well-wishers of Guyana… these supporters of the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.”
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