AFC defends support for Amaila despite concerns

AFC defends support for Amaila despite concerns

Opposition political party, the Alliance for Change has come under criticism across the social media landscape from many of its supporters for its decision to lend support to the Amaila Falls Hydro power project in its current form.

The party has also been criticized over links between its Chairman Nigel Hughes and the Amaila Hydro Power Company. Hughes serves as the Company Secretary. The party is now trying to fight back.

In a statement the AFC said its parliamentary actions in relation to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project were consistent with its commitment to the Guyanese electricity consumers, as well as its commitments to renewable energy and to making Guyana an attractive venue for investors.

According to the party, “In light of what has since transpired, the Party is convinced that it acted in a rational and responsible manner to safeguard both the people of Guyana and the project, pending an ongoing analysis by the IDB.”

The AFC said despite its support in the National Assembly, it still believes that “this Project was handled badly from the inception, with no formal project document being laid in the National Assembly, and no attempt made to seek early political consensus”.

The party also said there is “no evidence of a formal and transparent tender process leading to the identification and selection of the project’s developers”.

Opposition parties have been calling on the Government to share all information related to the project. The Government has said it has been sharing all of the information that it has but the AFC is now of the view that the failure to share critical information on the project with the political opposition, while negotiating with the developers for the last six years calls into question the sincerity of the government’s last minute efforts to achieve support from all political parties.

“Notwithstanding this, the AFC, in recognition of the advanced stage of the project financing process, and an appreciation of what it takes to bring a project of such magnitude to this stage, took a position to approve two parliamentary measures intended to support the project.  Neither of these measures, as approved, present any risk whatsoever to the people of Guyana”, the AFC statement said.

 The party said it wishes to make it clear that it “has by no means endorsed this project in its current form”.

The Opposition group is also calling for the government to engage in meaningful consultations on the project and for the government to also understand that it is dealing with a new type of politics in Guyana.

The AFC back peddled from its initial decision not to support the project and threw its votes behind the Government and voted along with the Government in the National Assembly to pass the hydro power bill. The other Opposition party, A Partnership for National Unity voted against the Bill and maintains that it cannot support the bill in its current form.

The project’s developer, Sithe Global pulled out of the project saying that it wants more than just parliamentary support, it wants national consensus with all of the parties agreeing to the project.

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