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AFC pleads with supporters for time and understanding

AFC officials at Wednesday’s news conference.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) is pleading with its supporters for time and understanding as it continues to face public backlash from its decision to support the now in limbo Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.

Persons have taken to the social media sites and the comments section of the news websites to vent on what they see as the party’s “betrayal” in voting with the government after earlier saying they were awaiting the due diligence studies from potential investor the IDB.  

“We’re having our National Executive meeting on August 31 … in the interim we are taking the timeout to try and explain to persons our position. There’s been a lot of misconceptions,” General Secretary David Patterson told reporters on Wednesday.

The AFC last week voted for the Hydro-Electricity Power (Amendment) Bill and a motion to raise the debt ceiling for government to guarantee loans from GUY$1B to GUY$50B. The government had been seeking GUY$130B.

Prior to last Wednesday’s sitting the party had indicated that it was prepared to support the bill but would await the IDB’s studies before approving the motion. But shortly after meeting officials from Sithe Global, the company that would have operated the Amaila facility, the AFC amended its position saying that it would support a lower ceiling and that it be tied only to the hydropower project with a three-month review.  

“The AFC’s position cannot be hard and fast, it cannot be cast in stone. Information comes every day, new things surface and our Members of Parliament must be allowed some leeway that they can take the information as presented and they be allowed some flexibility to make decisions based on information coming to light,” party official Beverley Alert said.

Parliamentarian Trevor Williams added that the party acts in what it considers to be the best interest of the country when in the National Assembly.

“We are aware that there are persons who would like to see us vote, respond on an issue in a particular way, some people may be disappointed while others may not. Our role in the parliament is very flexible and a very dynamic one where from time to time we have to think and see what’s in the best interest of the country,” he said.

According to Williams, he believes the AFC’s action would be proven the right one when the dust settles.

Subsequent to last week’s vote AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan said they voted for the Amaila legislation to ensure the project was not killed since the party supported Guyana’s hydropower ambitions.

Sithe Global has since pulled out citing the lack of political consensus as its reason.