The leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, is calling on the government to release the
fact-based report done on the Amaila Falls hydropower project.
In a statement released by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, it was stated that the study is intended to help Guyanese citizens and businesses access an independent assessment of the merits of Amaila Falls.
The statement read, “A year ago, Minister Raphael Trotman said the study would be ready in May 2016. In July, Minister Joseph Harmon said the report would be ready by September 1, 2016. Then a few days ago, we hear from the government that it will not now be released until January 2017. What is the government hiding? Why will they not release the study?”
According to the opposition, the Coalition government misled the National Assembly when it said that Amaila Falls will cost the Guyana Power and Light Company US$2.6B over 20 years. The statement said that measured against 2012 prices, in fact, it will save GPL $2B over 20 years.
“President Granger was wrong when he said the project would saddle Guyanese with debt. There would be no public debt. The government’s contribution to Amaila Falls would largely come from US$80M which was earned in payments from Norway and has been sitting unused in a bank account at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank for years.”
The PPP/C is of the view that by 2017, Amaila Falls could be generating about 50 per cent more electricity than the entire GPL supply in 2012, for about half the cost. The statement said that customers’ electricity bills would significantly decrease in stages , 90 per cent cheaper than they were in 2012.
According to the PPP/C, in 2015 Jagdeo had offered to help the government understand and progress the Amaila Falls Hydropower project.
“When the government failed to take him up on his offer, he called for an independent study to help the government proceed and welcomed the announcement that the government of Norway would fund such a study.”
The statement said that Guyanese will face years more of unreliable electricity supply and excessively high bills with no end in sight. “Blackouts last up to 10 hours a day and GPL is putting future electricity costs up by buying expensive, dirty energy supplies. Only two weeks ago, they bought four new oil-based generators. The blame for this situation lies entirely with the APNU-AFC coalition.”
Further, the PPP/C accused the PNC arm of the coalition of excluding Guyana from the global capital markets in the first place and for decades of zero investment in Guyana that resulted.
“Then in 2013, they resumed their economic vandalism, working with like-minded partners in the Alliance for Change (AFC). They used their one-seat majority in the National Assembly to vote against the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and they caused the US private developer, one of the world’s premiere-league private investors to withdraw.”
The statement further accused the government of committing economic vandalism once again by stopping the project in its track when the coalition assumed power in 2015.
“They justified these acts of vandalism by stopping the project in its tracks. They justified these acts of vandalism through a series of inaccurate stories; including when the Finance Minister stood before the National Assembly and declared that to proceed with the Amaila Falls project would be a ‘downright criminal act of deception.”
According to the PPP/C these statements are false, inclusive of the other countless justifications made over the last two years for rejecting the project.
The party said that since before 2013 the APNU-AFC had access to the same information on the project as the PPP/C.
“They know that Guyana’s long term energy strategy should be built with hydropower as its back bone; Amaila Falls has repeatedly been identified as the best-fit for the first major hydropower development in Guyana; the best way to develop the project is as a public-private partnership and in August 2013, Guyana had secured a best-in-class US private investor to be the major sponsor for Amaila Falls.”
The PPP/C said that the Amaila Falls Hydropower project should be almost operational by now – and about to provide most Guyanese citizens and businesses with reliable, affordable, clean energy. Today, the party said Guyana should be within months of becoming one of the top ten users of clean energy in the world.
The Amaila Falls project is expected to generate 165-megawatts of hydro power and is supposed to be Guyana’s most expensive one to date, if it gets off the ground.
Government has already spent an additional US$35M-plus to build more than 160 kilometers of road to the Amaila Falls site. .
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