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No invitation to discuss Amaila received; US envoy’s appeal unwelcomed- Granger

Despite President Donald Ramotar’s call for A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) team to meet government experts to settle outstanding issues on the proposed Amaila Falls Hydropower plant, Opposition Leader David Granger said he has not received any invitation.

The Guyanese leader has publicly called on Granger to lead a team to meet with government officials to deal with two outstanding issues once and for all- concerns about national indebtedness by the US$858 million dollar project and whether the real cost of electricity will reduce.

The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has also called on the Opposition Leader to accept the President’s offer to meet. With the Alliance For Change (AFC) having already supported Amaila-related instruments in the legislature, the United States Ambassador Brent Hardt has urged the need for political consensus.

But Granger, who recently returned to Guyana, said he was willing to meet with the President at any time if invited. “I have never obstructed any meeting with the President, I have never opposed any meeting with the President and I need to be satisfied that there is a purpose in the meeting,” he told Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com).

“If he wants to meet with me, he can consult me, he can contact me. He knows how to contact me,” he said.

Granger, however, rejected the American envoy’s intervention, hinted that Hardt might have overstepped his bounds in dealing with national issues that could be handled by the country’s two top politicians by using the national mechanisms. “I think this is a national matter and the President and the President is quite capable of representing the interest to the nation and to me,” he said.

“The Ambassador is a diplomat and he has his work to do and I think inside of Guyana we have our work to do,” he said. The United States-based company, Sithe Global, which has already spent US$16 million on project preparations has pulled out, saying it would not invest another US$150 million unless there was political consensus. Hardt has said that “consensus” was critical to cater for changes in political governance over the 20-year life span of the New York-based company’s involvement in Amaila Falls Hydropower Inc. (AFHI).

The Opposition Leader denied that he had laid only two concerns about the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and accused the President of being selective. “I raised more than two points. The President selected two of the points that were raised. I raised several other points,” he said.

APNU spokesman on economic and financial matters, Carl Greenidge has repeatedly expressed concerns about whether the much touted lower cost of electricity would trickle down to domestic, industrial and commercial consumers. He has cited managerial and technical inefficiencies at the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) which would have to buy the power to be generated by AFHP.

Government has said that it would cost Guyanese 19 US cents per kilowatt per hour, down from an average of  33 US$ cents through fossil-fuel generated electricity.

APNU has also questioned whether government has thought out the proper use of the Potaro River Basin to establish a network of hydropower stations rather than the standalone AFHP to feed into the high-cost transmission lines.