…says Green Economy in jeopardy
By Michael Younge
Chief Whip of the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), Gail Teixeira, has written the Government of Norway protesting the shroud of secrecy lined with the lack of consultation that is prevailing over an independent fact-based review of the Amaila Falls Hydro Power Project which commenced earlier this year.
This review was called for repeatedly by Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, both in and out of the National Assembly, following a decision by the David Granger Government to put the project on hold because of some reservations and concerns it had about both the economics and design of the project which was devised under the PPP tenure.
Jagdeo had also welcomed statements made by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman in April that the review would be conducted and the findings completed by September 2016. The review was to be done by the Norwegian company, NORCONSULT.
But soon after the company requested more time to complete its report and other media reports which followed this request, State Minister Joseph Harmon was quoted as saying that the Government did not have the contract for AFHPF.
The PPPC said that “silence ensued” and a decision was subsequently made to write the Norwegians on the matter.
In her letter to the Norwegian Government’s International Climate and Forest Initiative on August 24, 2016, Teixeira expressed the parliamentary opposition’s grave concerns related to the lack of inclusivity and transparency which has become evident since the reported commencement of the review following agreement between the Governments of Guyana and Norway.
Apart from expressing earlier concerns over statements made by Minister Trotman with respect to the state of the country’s forests and extractive industries as a result of ill-advised decisions allegedly taken by the PPP, Teixeira said the opposition was more concerned that the “Guyanese people were being side-lined in the implementation of the Guyana/Norway Partnership agreement”.
She pointed to the lack of progress on several fronts explaining that the new Government had usurped the functions of the stakeholder bodies that were established under the PPP administration to consult with the people, meet and make recommendations about the projects and general implementation of the partnership agreement.
“We feel that this (delay) in the Governance of the Guyana-Norway Partnership Agreement could damage Guyana’s prospects for a generally transformative shift to a low carbon Green Economy”, she warned in the letter.
Teixeira also lamented the need for the urgent shift to cleaner energy as she reminded Norway of the Opposition’s unmoved commitment towards supporting all initiatives in the agreement and the Amaila Falls in particular towards the achievement of this goal.
The Opposition Chief Whip did record her concern that despite the Opposition making all of its personnel and institutional knowledge available about the project for the benefit of the review process, there have still been no consultations with the party.
She therefore underscored the need for former project professionals and those who understand the AFHP to be consulted along with the various sections of the Guyanese public.
The PPP reiterated its support to the Guyana/Norway Partnership as it calls for all hurdles blocking its forward movement to be removed forthwith following the truly consultative review process.