Former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, has rubbished claims recently made by his successor, the PPP’s Juan Edghill, that the APNU+AFC regime had engaged in a sheer case of “blatant lawlessness” when it gave US$50 to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) earlier this year for the procurement of generators from Wartsila.

In a previous publication by this news agency, Edghill had said that the dual fuel generators are not in Guyana, yet the money was disbursed in a one-shot payment. The Public Works Minister was also alarmed that the money was doled out without an agreement being signed first while adding that an additional US$2M would be needed for civil works.

During an interview with the Guyana Standard, Patterson was quick to note that the US$50M was not paid over in full to GPL. He also refuted the Minister’s allegation that there would be a need for additional money.

Patterson said it is critical for discerning readers to know that the entire project cost is US$50M. He said that this includes the generators, civil works, substations, etc. The former Minister said, “The sums advanced are for the generators payment which to date has only been about US$26M. The balance is paid when the generators are installed and commissioned.” As for the arrival of the generators, Patterson said that it has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is my understanding that they have been shipped and on route presently,” the former Minister said.

Turning his attention to the importance of the project, Patterson stressed that Guyana’s power generating system was rapidly deteriorating for years while noting that urgent action was needed even though the nation was in the height of the 2020 elections this year. Patterson said the APNU+AFC regime was of the firm view that it was in the nation’s interest to ensure the project was not delayed. The former Minister was also keen to note that the project served to complement the intention of the APNU+AFC to bring gas to shore.

Patterson said, “…It was always our intention to land natural gas to shore to power new generating systems. The idea was always to procure dual fired generators and have them installed at the landing location of choice. These sets would have run from heavy fuel oil (HFO) until the gas is landed and then switched over…”

Patterson said that the Department of Energy had required time to study the works already completed so no final decision was made on the site. In the meantime, Patterson said he made several presentations to the APNU+AFC Cabinet on the status of the electricity sector, especially as it relates to the nation’s reserve capacity which was below the threshold. Compounding this was the fact that the national demand was increasing by eight to 10% per annum.

Taking this into account, Patterson said the decision was taken in 2019 to procure additional sets to ensure that the nation has adequate capacity while the natural gas project comes on stream.

Patterson continued, “The contract was signed in 2019, with the first payment being due in February 2020. It was expected that the generators would be commissioned the next month, being March. But due to the pandemic, it has been delayed.” The former Minister said that these generator sets will provide more than adequate coverage until the natural gas project starts and if required, can be relocated to the natural gas site.

With the foregoing in mind, the former Minister said he is appalled that the matter is being raised by Edghill as though something nefarious was taking place when he was the one who brought it to the attention of the Minister in a handing-over letter dated August 4, last. Considering the fact that he has been transparent on this matter and had committed himself in the letter to provide any information the Minister needed at a mutually convenient time, Patterson said he could only conclude that the Minister is being dishonest on this issue.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here