Sep 16, 2016 News
…Mischievous letter to Norway will bear no fruit
By Abena Rockcliffe
“Jagdeo choose to run to foreign authorities as if (Guyana is) supposed to be slapped around and disciplined. His moves are highly unpatriotic and tell us that he is not serious about engagements but interested in public pouncing around.”- Trotman
The Government of Guyana has found displeasing yet derisory the way the People’s Progressive Party/
Civic opposition has chosen to deal with the grouses it has as it relates to the born again Amaila Falls Hydro-Electricity Project (AFHP).
Recently, PPPC announced that its Executive Member and Chief Representative in the National Assembly, Gail Teixeira, had written to the Government of Norway to inform of the PPP’s view that the Amaila project is being shrouded in secrecy.
The politician also told the Norwegians that there is a serious lack of consultation that is prevailing over the review of the project. Teixeira expressed concerns that the “Guyanese people were being sidelined in the implementation of the Guyana/Norway Partnership agreement”.
Yesterday, two senior government Ministers, Raphael Trotman and Joseph Harmon, expressed their disappointment at the PPP action.
Trotman, the Natural Resources Minister, was most annoyed. He said that the PPP is basically being mischievous.
The Minister told Kaieteur News that it has been very well publicized that Norway and Guyana agreed to do a review of the Amaila project and that it would be funded by Norway. He said that the PPP is very aware that the process has
Trotman said that it seems as if the PPP, under Bharrat Jagdeo’s stewardship, is becoming a “cry baby” party. He said that Jagdeo’s directions to his party members to carry out these “spoil child” acts will “not help him in any way.”
“If Jagdeo has genuine questions he can come and ask for the answers. I have appeared before the Natural Resources Committee on several occasions which is the proper place to hear a complaint that the process is shrouded in secrecy; which, of course, is not true.”
Trotman said that it is the very Jagdeo who refused to appoint PPP members to the various boards. “These matters are discussed at the Board levels so if the PPP was interested it would have appointed members.
“But, Jagdeo has publicly said that he has refused the President’s invitation for joint committees and he refuses to name nominees on the various Boards. So he cannot then run up to Norway when it is he who has landed the PPP in that position (not knowing what is discussed at the Board levels) in refusing to engage.”
Trotman said, “So it is evident that Jagdeo and the PPP refused to use the established organs. He refused to put representation on the Boards; he ignored the parliamentary process of finding out and he refused the President’s invitation.”
Trotman was adamant that Guyana’s democracy is not ‘being subverted.
The Minister said that he even wrote Jagdeo inviting him for a briefing “at his convenience.” That was two months ago.
“I am still awaiting a feed back.”
Further, Trotman said that Jagdeo and Teixeira have basically wasted their time in writing the letter. According to him, the government of Norway is steeped in the knowledge of the Sovereignty of State. “We do not interfere with their internal workings and they will not interfere with ours. We are quite satisfied that they would not.”
Trotman pointed out that this is not the first letter of this sort that the PPP has written to Norway.
He said, however, that such actions prove the motive of the PPP. “What we have is a set of theatrics being displayed by Jagdeo and his comrades. If he was serious about Guyana’s development, he would have taken the routes mentioned “to get information.”
Trotman said, “Instead, Jagdeo choose to run to foreign authorities as if we (Guyana) are supposed to be slapped around and disciplined. His moves are highly unpatriotic and tell that he is not serious about engagements but interested in public pouncing around.”
Despite all this, Trotman said that Government remains ready and willing to engage with the Opposition.
Government in talks
Speaking at the Post Cabinet press briefing yesterday, Harmon said that the Government is currently engaged with the Kingdom of Norway and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on the way forward for the Amaila project.
“…In fact, as I speak to you now a team from the IDB is at the Ministry of Finance discussing this matter.”
Minister Harmon was responding to questions surrounding the same allegations of secrecy.
With regards to the letter, the Minister said, “I think it is very unfortunate that they (the Opposition) would take what I may call an anti-national stance on this matter,” Minister Harmon opined.
The Minister further explained that the issue of the project was elaborated upon in the National Assembly, at a select committee meeting on natural resources, where the Opposition was given full disclosure on all matters regarding Norway, and the Green Climate Fund.
Earlier this year, a Norwegian company, Norconsult, was selected to review the financial model of the AFHP, to determine whether the project will move forward. This review was scheduled to be completed by September 1; however, Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment has asked the Government of Guyana for an extension.
Harmon spoke about a decision taken between the Government and the Kingdom of Norway, to set up an independent assessor to determine whether it is going anywhere…They (Norway) are still in the process of engaging finally the assessor, so it is not that there is no transparency, and all of this is in the public domain.”
Additionally, Harmon noted that the AFHP project will also be addressed at the 71st session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly which will be attended by President David Granger, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge and a team.
The AFHP which started under the previous administration, was the flagship project of the five-year forest protection partnership, which ended last year between Guyana and Norway. Guyana was expected to earn up to US$250 million in performance-based payments based on an independent verification of deforestation and forest degradation rates and progress on REDD+ enabling activities.
REDD+ is a global initiative that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Norway had transferred US$80 million to the IDB for the project but when the APNU+AFC Government took office, it said that proceeding with the project would be irresponsible. Norway had urged the Government to consider the merits of the project, as Guyana stood to lose the US$80 million earmarked if it failed to come up with a plan for transformational renewable energy sources that can be realized in the next few years, hence a review of the project was conducted.
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