‘David Patterson should acquaint himself with the truth’ − PM Phillips
Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips has responded to what he termed ‘concocted lies and false claims, embedded in elements of the APNU + AFC cabal’, being peddled by David Patterson.
In a letter to the editor, the prime minister said it is not shocking that Patterson seeks to divert attention from his “failed ad hoc approaches to power generation in Guyana, during his tenure as the minister responsible for the sector.”
The former public infrastructure minister under the APNU+AFC Administration has accused the PPP/C Government of not having a strategic plan for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), claiming that his government had developed a plan and executed several projects to enhance the generation capacity of the power company, improving the transmission and distribution network without financing from external loans.
The prime minister noted, that in contrast to Patterson’s claims, the government has approved the GPL Development and Expansion Plans for the years 2021 to 2025 and 2022 to 2026, which are publicly available on GPL’s website.
He noted too that while in office, the previous government failed to approve and publish the statutory Development and Expansion Plans for years 2017-2021, 2018-2022, 2019- 2023, and 2020 -2024, and only approved the plan for the year 2016-2020.
Further, the PPP/C had published the Development and Expansion plan for the year 2015-2019 before demitting office in May 2015.
Moreover, the prime minister stated that “major projects quoted by Mr. Patterson, for the upgrade of the transmission lines, etc, were birthed by the PPP (His Excellency President Donald Ramotar’s) Administration with funding secured from the EU and the IDB in 2014 for the execution of the Power Utility Upgrade Programme (PUUP).”
Clearly, PM Phillips said, APNU took credit for the PUUP which, contained the Strengthening GPL’s Management Capabilities, Operational Efficiency, and Infrastructure Investments for Loss Reduction, and component three of the project which was done in two (2) phases.
All are aimed at reducing technical and commercial losses and improving the reliability of service.
While responding to the contention that the projects were completed without financing from any external loans, PM Phillips noted that loans related to the IDB-funded PUUP project were from an external source contrary to the statement made by Patterson.
“The significant reduction in the world market fuel prices during the period of 2015 to 2016, allowed for the self-financing of these generation projects (Bartica, Anna Regina and Wakenaam), and also allowed for the 15 per cent fuel rebate and the five percent tariff reductions that customers benefitted from,” the PM stated.
He reminded, that the government introduced a 5 per cent fuel rebate in 2015 before demitting office.
The prime minister said the financial records of GPL revealed that at the time APNU/AFC demitted office in August 2020, GPL’s loans had increased by more than G$21 billion, which represents a 65 per cent increase.
Additionally, when the PPP/C took office in 2020, government receivables had increased by more than $10 billion, “due to the APNU administration not ensuring the timely and full payment of its government’s electricity bills,” the prime minister stated.