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APNU’s position on Amaila project unchanged – Granger

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Amaila Falls facility

President Donald Ramotar’s Sunday appeal to Opposition Leader David Granger for the APNU’s support for the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) appears to have found no fertile ground.

In a statement released early in the day the president disclosed that he had called Granger urging that the APNU join them in supporting the project for the good of the country.

Amaila operator Sithe Global has said that it would go ahead with its US$150 million investment in the US$850 million hydropower plant if all political parties in parliament support the project. The AFC last week voted with the government on legislation seen as critical to the project.

“Our position has not changed,” Grander told Demerara Waves via telephone Sunday afternoon. “we’ve had no reason to alter it since the last sitting of parliament.”

He added that no new information has been forthcoming and there was nothing on the table at this time that could lead to a change.

The opposition leader said that the APNU was not against hydropower but that they had a problem with the Amaila project for which there were too many questions.

“Amaila and CJIA all have to be put into a proper governance framework, we won’t separate infrastructure from governance,” he said referring to the also stalled airport expansion project.

Granger said they were prepared to meet with the government again on the Amaila issue but until then their position remained the same.

The APNU’s position is in contrast to that of  the AFC whose seven MPs on Wednesday voted with the government to pass the Hydro-Electric Power (Amendment) Bill and a motion to up the debt ceiling from GUY$1B to GUY$50B. The government was seeking to increase it to $130B.

According to AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, they believed that they had to offer a “lifeline” for the project until potential investor the IDB completed its feasibility studies.

“We felt that the entire project would have been killed had we not done what we did last night,” he told reporters the next day.