Opposition refuses to meet gov’t on GPL

Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2024, 0:52 by Writer

PNCR Chairman, Shurwayne Holder

Opposition parliamentarian, Shurwayne Holder on Thursday refused to attend a meeting with government to discuss the state of the electricity sector, instead saying that the bipartisan parliamentary Economic Services Committee (ESC) is the proper place for an update.

“I will not be attending that meeting. I believe that if they want to give an update, they can hold a press conference and update the nation,” said Mr Holder who is a parliamentarian for the People’s National Congress-led coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC). He believed that a meeting at the Prime Minister’s office would limit him to what he could ask and would not form part of the official parliamentary record.

He said the ESC had agreed unanimously that a meeting would be held on May 8 to consider the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) which has been plagued by problems in providing reliable electricity for several months now.

But on Wednesday, he dismissed Public Works Minister II Deodat Indar’s written invitation to all Committee members, on behalf of Prime Minister Mark Phillips, to a meeting at the latter’s office to receive an update. “It is disrespectful to the Economic Services Committee which has made a decision that they must come in front the committee and we must field questions to them; serious questions,” Mr Holder told a news conference.

The APNU on Thursday raised concerns about the feasibility of government chartering a 36 megawatt power ship for the next two years. Government said the provider would be responsible for operation and maintenance. GPL said it would have to pay Urbacon Concessions Investment a monthly charter fee of 6.62 US cents per kilowatt hour and a monthly operation and maintenance fee of 0.98 cents per kilowatt hour.

GPL said it has already paid a mobilisation fee of US$1 million and would be responsible for supplying heavy fuel oil.

The power company said the vessel is expected to arrive in Guyana on May 1 and by May 8 would be hooked up to the grid at Everton, Berbice River.