Apr 17, 2017 News
By Brushell Blackman
The Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) is insisting that the controversial Amaila Falls Hydro Electricity Contract was given to the ruling administration when they were in opposition and also when they took office in 2015.
According to PPP Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall, the government is not being forthcoming with the nation when it asserted recently that the contract was never handed over.
According to Nandlall, sometime in 2014 when the present government was in opposition, the PPP/C government needed the joint opposition’s support, since they were in the majority, to raise the ceiling limit to get some additional funding for the project.
The former Attorney General said that the contract and all related documentation in relation to it was given to the opposition at the office of the President by a team of officials including Donald Ramotar, Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington.
Nandlall also said that a CD containing all the projects that were ongoing at the time in Guyana was given to the APNU/AFC government when they took office in 2015.
Nandlall said that it was former head of NICIL Winston Brassington who gave the CD to the Minister of State Joseph Harmon. He said that Harmon is not being forthcoming and it was Harmon who told the nation he was going to China to collect $5M that the Chinese government owed their Guyanese counterparts.
Nandlall said that the PPP government at the time gave the joint opposition two boxes of documents in relation to the Amelia Falls project; and also took the joint opposition on a tour of the project in the hinterland.
Asked if there were any witnesses at the time when the files were handed over Nandlall said he cannot remember. Nandlall added that the ruling administration did a feasibility study of the project that was conducted by a Norwegian firm. He said that the government must have been in possession of the contract, since that would have been an integral part of the feasibility study.
Responding to Harmon who said that he was awaiting the contract from the opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo, Nandlall said that Jagdeo never made such a promise.
Nandlall said that such behaviour by the government is nothing new and he believes the government’s inability to locate the contract is all down to incompetence.
At his weekly Post-Cabinet press briefing, Harmon was asked about the contracts which he said remains “deeply buried”.
Harmon told the media that after his utterances last year, “the Leader of the Opposition, (Bharrat Jagdeo) said that he had delivered it (the contract) on some CD at some meeting. It was never delivered, so that is the position still”.
Even while in Opposition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had asked to see the agreement with China Railway to build the actual hydro power plant to the cost of US$506 million. It had also asked to see the IDB feasibility study on the project presented.
The Amaila project was left hanging in limbo in 2013 after the US developer, Sithe Global, announced its pullout. This was because the National Assembly remained split on key legislation that was critical for partial project financing by the Inter-American Development Bank. APNU and the Alliance For Change, while in Opposition, had been unconvinced on how the money would have been spent, among other things.
Sithe Global made it clear, then, that the flagship project, which it would manage for 20 years before handing it over to Government, needed the full backing of the National Assembly.
The road had been a major thorn in the side of the hydro project after it was awarded to Synergy Holdings Inc, whose principal, Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall, was the original mover for the project. The US$15M (initial price tag) access road faced several delays and the contract was terminated in January 2012 by the government.
It was later awarded in parts to several contractors.
The entire project should have cost US$15.4 million, according to the original contract given to Motilall, but ended up costing close to US$41M.
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