Georgetown, Guyana (August 12, 2015) – Minister of State, Joseph Harmon at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency clarified that Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) was ‘dead’ from the moment Sithe Global pulled out of the project in August 2013. The Minister was at the time responding to questions on why the Government is no longer proceeding with the project which was initiated by the former administration.
Minister Harmon explained that the Inter-Development Bank (IDB) essentially was left with no project to finance when Sithe Global, its client, exited the deal. In spite of this however, the former administration continued to make declarations regarding the project.
“They continued on the path of deception; deceiving the Guyanese people that we have this project and that it will be funded… there was no project and there was nothing for the IDB to fund,” Minister Harmon maintained.
These were the same sentiments expressed by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan who in his budget speech, said that it would be a “downright criminal act of deception, were we to proceed with the Amaila Falls.”
The Government is scheduled to meet with IDB officials shortly and is hoping that the institution will further clarify the misconceptions that have been peddled in the public domain.
Minister Harmon said that even though there is no project, significant sums of money have been invested in the road leading up to the falls and the Government remains open to other agencies coming forward with a proposal on how the investments already made can be converted into practical use.
He noted too, that a complete project was never properly placed before the National Assembly; instead what was laid before the House was the Hydro-electric (Amendment) Bill and Motion to raise the debt ceiling.
“The entire project was never placed before the National Assembly by the previous administration so all the posturing about, ‘we are going to do this and we are going to do that’ was a lot of deception,” he said.
The Minister also pointed to the fact that the Amaila project design never took into account the delivery of electricity to Essequibo or the hinterland regions, which meant that those areas would have still had to look for alternative forms of energy and would’ve no doubt, still been dependent on fossil fuel.
The new administration has committed to take a more comprehensive look at energy because it believes that it will be the driver of industry, manufacturing and the overall development of the country, Minister Harmon said.
Minister Harmon said that the Government will explore the prospects of wind, solar and hydro energy, but noted that the country never was, and still is not tied to Amaila. Instead, focus will be placed on developing more cohesive hydroelectricity development starting with the Potaro Basin hydroelectric plan.