Government made extensive efforts to consult Opposition on Amaila
The Government of Guyana wishes to place in the public domain detailed information in relation to the efforts made to engage and consult with the Parliamentary Opposition on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project.
Below chronicles some of the key engagements where technical and related matters of the project were covered:
Early 2012-Sithe meets with opposition; Sithe provided an overview of the project
March 14, 2012—detailed presentation made at Office of the President by GoG to joint opposition; during presentation, numerous questions were raised and answered. A copy of the presentation was shared so that further questions could be raised. HE requested that the opposition submit further questions and it was agreed that a two week timetable would be adequate. No questions were ever submitted.
2012 Budget debates—Parliamentary discussion on project.
March 2013—updated power point presentation made by GOG to opposition (only APNU attends). Copy of presentation given to opposition with a request for any comments/questions. Again, no questions received.
2013 Budget debate—again detailed discussion including progress with road
June 2013—power point presentation made to opposition by GoG; this presentation contained key updates on project. Government also shares 3 major agreements for the transaction: Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Receivables Agreement (RA) and the Implementation Agreement (IA). Again no questions submitted but a request to visit the Amaila Falls Access Road made and certain economic reports
June 2013— Government shares two reports on Amaila: Market/Economic Assessment prepared by Mercados Eneregiticos.
June 2013—road visit organized led by Min. Robeson Benn;
June 2013—IDB meets with opposition (APNU) on project; meeting was described by IDB as cordial with all questions being answered.
July 2013—continued engagement with opposition on legislation (opposition focus continues to be on matters outside of Amaila)
July engagement with GPL Management; APNU request for a meeting with GPL’s management agreed and time fixed; on date of meeting, APNU declines citing that the Economic Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee would be engaging on GPL and Amaila during July.
July 17th—engagement with IDB Caribbean Country Manager on Amaila
July 18th—Vote on Amaila; combined opposition defeats Bill and Motion
July 25th—Government convenes a stakeholders’ consultation session on the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project at the Guyana International Conference Centre at Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara. The estimated attendance at the forum is 300 persons with representation from a broad array of non-governmental organizations, including Amerindian, women, labor, student and business groups
July 29th –President Donald Ramotar writes the Leader of the Opposition David Granger to request to continue discussions with the opposition on parliamentary considerations of the Amaila Hydro-power Project legislation
July 30th—Leader of the Opposition David Granger acknowledges receipt of President Ramotar’s letter
July 31—Leader of the Opposition David Granger agrees to the Government’s recommendation to meet with Sithe Global and Blackstone. GOG arranges for Sithe/Blackstone to brief the opposition at Parliament Building; GoG not allowed to participate;
July 31,–GoG and Sithe engage in a public workshop on the project with detailed presentations being made public and all questions on project being answered.
August 7th—GoG brings back Amaila Parliamentary matters; APNU votes these down; AFC support but with a reduced guarantee ceiling.
In addition to the above consultations, Government has been aware of various engagements by private sector organizations, Sithe, and other parties, with the opposition. All of these engagements were intended to provide the opposition with a better understanding of the project.
Private Sector consultations by Sponsor (Sithe)
Media consultations by Sponsor (Sithe)
Opposition consultations by Sponsor (Sithe)
GOG consultations with private sector
Environmental consultations with all key stakeholders including indigenous people
The above is not exhaustive but the facts are irrefutable:
Sithe and Government have actively engaged the opposition for over 18 months
Government has provided:
3 technical presentations (power points) and various studies
Transaction major agreements (PPA, RA, IA)
Held 3 public workshops (one with Sithe),
Arranged visit to the Amaila Falls Access roads
Arranged for APNU and AFC to meet the IDB on subject matter
Supported and facilitated direct engagement with Sithe Global/Blackstone
Government has never received written questions from the opposition.
Furthermore, the Government has repeatedly emphasized that passage of the two pieces of legislation was a prerequisite for continued participation in the project by our international partners. In addition, Sithe/Blackstone explicitly and publicly stated that Parliamentary consensus was a prerequisite for their continued involvement in the project.
The evidence of a long and active engagement by Government is therefore clear. What is also clear is that the opposition has never availed themselves of the multiple opportunities to raise questions and obtain answers, and cannot now use lack of consultation as a fig leaf behind which to conceal from the gravity of the consequences of their vote against the project last Wednesday.