In the wee hours of this morning, the Government used its majority in the National Assembly to vote down a motion tabled by Opposition Member of Parliament David Patterson which was seeking the suspension of a planned gas-to-shore project. Patterson was pushing for more consultation and studies on the project to be conducted.
In presenting his motion, MP Patterson made it clear that the motion was not seeking to have the gas to shore project terminated since the original concept for the project—for the purpose of power generation was proposed by the Coalition government in 2016.
Patterson explained that he wanted the motion suspended and referred to the Standing Committee of Natural Resources for the Committee to conduct additional studies on the cost, location, environmental challenges as well as alternative energy sources and on completion present a full report to the parliament for approval.
He argued that the project in its current form is bad for Guyana.
“The PPP will be plunging the nation head first into what will be the largest infrastructure project in the country’s history disregarding the nation’s appeal to examine all the implications of this project in detail,” Patterson said.
Mr. Patterson said although the PPP government used the studies conducted under the former government to justify why the project should continue, the administration ignored several recommendations of the studies that were conducted.
“All the studies recommended landing a pipeline at a location somewhere between Mahaica and Rosignol. There has been no evidence presented to that recommends the Wales location, absolutely no study,” Patterson said.
In response, Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat said he believes the aim of the Opposition motion was to slow down the gas-to-energy project and all projects executed under the PPP/C government.
Bharrat argued that the power generation problem in Guyana is a hindrance to development and the gas-to-shore project will address that problem but more importantly, he said the project will bring an end to blackouts.
“The biggest challenge to our development is the cost for power generation and the reliability of power generation to our people and to our business community and this project—the gas to energy project is designed to solve that problem once and for all,” Bharrat said.
The Natural Resources Minister said once the project is on stream, electricity in Guyana will be reduced by over 50%.
The gas-t0-energy project was proposed by the Coalition in 2016. At that time, the blackout situation in the country was unbearable given that the power company, GPL was not generating enough power coupled with its financial woes to buy power.
GPL appears to still be in the same situation.