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Shadow Minister of Legal Affairs Roysdale Forde SC, speaking at the Opposition press conference Tuesday, advised contrary to Government’s announcement a United States-based company was awarded the contract to build the Wales gas-to-shore plant, it is actually a Venezuelan company that will be executing the project.
The Government awarded US$759 million to CH4/LINDSAYCA to build a 300 megawatt (mw) natural gas-fired electricity plant and natural gas liquids plant at Wales, West Bank Demerara. CH4/LINDSAYCA won the contract over PowerChina, who was the over second-ranked bidder and offered to build the plants for US$704 million.
However, Forde stated there is much more than meets the eyes with LINDSAYCA, which is a Venezuela company. A search of the company’s website said it was “Founded in 1995 through private equity and family ownership, LINDSAYCA has rapidly expanded initially in Venezuela, providing services to both state- and privately-owned clients in the upstream and downstream energy sector.”
Forde is contending the Government should have provided the information to the Guyanese people. The Member of Parliament also questioned the wisdom of doing business with a firm of Venezuelan roots when there is the Venezuela/Guyana Border controversy which is before the International Court of Justice. Further, he questioned the wisdom of proceeding with a project that has also raised concerns about environmental impact on marine life and health.
Environmental advocate and Geologist Simone Mangal-Joly, in an interview with Kaieteur News, said: “Nowhere in the world can you put a power plant and an NGL plant and a pipeline over ground water and it never gets seriously impacted. Basic common sense will tell you that upset conditions of spills etc. over the 30-year-life of such heavily polluting industries put the groundwater at high risk. And this is our most prized groundwater aquifer. Guyana’s coastal water supply comes mainly from the A Sand Aquifer, which lies below the Wales Estate.”
Mangal-Joly also pointed out the implication for health, advising when hydrocarbon pollutants get into the water supply, they remain there permanently, and are cancerous, making the water unsafe for consumption.
Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, who has responsibility for the sector, has rubbished public expression of concerns. According to the vice president the project will not cause contamination.
The government is accused of being reckless about the nation’s health by going ahead with approval granted in November to ExxonMobil to commence the US$1.3 billion Gas-to-Energy project. The project will see construction of a natural gas pipeline, as well as a NGL facility and supporting infrastructure.
See Forde’s full statement below:-
Today I want to deal with another manifestation of the obvious deception of the PPP.
The government has announced, I believe and it was reported on Saturday 10 December newspaper Stabroek News, I believe that the government plans to award a contract to the building of a gas plant to a company that they referred to as a company out of Texas. They give the name as LINDSAYCA and they said it is a Texas company.
But examination would reveal that this company LINDSAYCA is owned by a company LINDSAYCA which is a Venezuelan company, and I believe that this brings into question the sincerity and the openness, the lack of transparency in areas in which the Guyanese people and their resources are being spent.
The Guyanese people deserve to know that this government finds it wise, appropriate to spend billions of US dollars for a gas plant to be built by a Venezuelan company, at a time when we continue to engage in very icy relations between Venezuela and Guyana.
I believe this sort of planning, if it is to be done by a Venezuelan company, requires the government to come clear and to tell the Guyanese people why are you going to be spending so much billions of dollars to build a gas plan by a Venezuelan company.
A gas plan by itself which has been brought into questioning in terms of the health care, the impact on the Guyanese community, the impact on the environment and it’s further shrouded by the wickedness, deception of the government to bring in a Venezuelan company to pay them billions of dollars to build a gas plant.