Even after the recount of votes cast in the controversial March election was completed, former Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan approved the release of US$50M to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) as a loan. The money was released in one shot without even a loan agreement.
The loan agreement was signed weeks after the huge sum was disbursed. This is what Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill told Guyana Standard as he explained the “blatant lawlessness” that was being perpetuated by the APNU+AFC administration. The Minister said he knows the government has its work cut out in trying to bring back Guyana to economic health given the many “raids” on the nation’s purse by the previous government.
Earlier this year, GPL picked Wartsila to build a 46.5- megawatts dual-fire power plant at Garden-of-Eden (GoE), East Bank Demerara. Apparently, the decision to move ahead with the project was made just days before election. However, even after the elections were completed, and the recount proved PPP/C to be the winner, the former Minister of Finance saw it fit to proceed with the deal which is now being regarded as shady.
Edghill told Guyana Standard of correspondences between the GPL, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Albert Gordon and Jordan. On May 22, Gordon wrote Jordan saying the “project continues to progress, and all the generating units will be expected to be shipped to Guyana next month (June) based on an accelerated schedule.” Edghill noted, “We are in August, and the generators are not here.”
Reading more correspondences, Edghill said that the loan was agreed to be disbursed “in a one shot payment on or before the 31st of May 2020.”
Almost a month after the money was doled out, the Minister and the CEO corresponded again regarding the signing of the loan agreement. “So the money was paid even before the signing of the agreement,” Edghill stressed.
The Minister indicated that the disbursed US$50M does not even reflect the entire cost of the project. He said that civil works which have not been done yet, are expected to cost another US$2M.
Edghill said, “This money was distributed by the same government that couldn’t find money for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).”
Edghill decried that there seems to be a particular reason for the rush to disburse the money, a reason that he said is not necessarily in keeping with the motives for the wellbeing of Guyana. Edghill said that he was not in a position to speak on whether there was a feasibility study for the project, and if proper procurement procedures were followed as he is still being appraised.
“But, the money gone. Why do you believe they hurry and do it? But we are going to get to the bottom of it,” said Edghill.