Monday, 02 April 2012 02:31
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - Minister Wilmoth Daniel has written to Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer asking for an investigation into the controversial Wadadli Power Plant.
The letter was also sent to Minister of Finance Harold Lovell.
CARIBARENA.COM intercepted the communication sent two weeks ago.
Below is a copy of the letter:
20th March 2012
Hon. Dr. Baldwin Spencer
Office of Prime Minister
Queen Elizabeth Hwy.
St. John's, Antigua
Dear Prime Minister
The time has come in my political life when I must decide whether the platform and government of which I am a part is serving the best interest of the country or losing the trust which was placed in us since the elections of 2004 and continued in 2009.
Prime Minister I take my oath of office very seriously and to my mind there appears to be a continuing loss of confidence by the people of this nation as to where the UPP Government is leading the people of our fair State.
This is causing me many sleepless nights and your mantra on taking office of "what is wrong will be made right and what is right will remain right" has lost it's bite since an overwhelming majority of the nation believe we've become worst than the ALP, which we have replaced.
Though I have many issues in numerous other areas of governance, even within my own Ministry of Health, I wish my focus to be singular and specific to:
1) The recent loan agreement between the govemment of the people's Republic of China and my government.
2) The purchase and commissioning of the Wadadli Power Plant.
3) The treatment meted out to the Hadeed Family and APC.
4) The continuing saga surrounding the truth as to whether said Wadadli Plant is a used or new plant for which my country is saddled with a US $47 million debt and the ramifications that flow from this agreement.
Prime Minister we have worked too hard, come too far and promised a change that must be realized if we are to continue to enjoy the respect, confidence and trust of the people we were elected to serve.
Over the past years since coming to political power in this country I have endured much pain and embarrassment at your hands, for actions and principles I've stood for in the best interest of our people. Without public challenge to you I have sat silently against all that have been thrown at me to ridicule me and my status in this country without you coming to my defense even though on several occasion you have promised so to do.
This mounting cry from the people with regard to our handling of this generator matter has the potential for the nation to rise up and turn upon us, if not handled properly. I fear that day.
Prime Minister this issue is of very deep and personal concern to me so permit me to list my historical track record relating to the issue of electricity power generation in Antigua and Barbuda since we assumed office in 2004.
As minister with responsibility for APUA during the power generation crisis in 2004, I was invited to Canada by Honourary Counsel for the USA, Mr. Mac Emanuel, accompanied by then Chairman Mr. Rolson Potter to look at securing a new generating plant capable of relieving our crisis situation.
You know now, as I discovered then, new plants are not just sitting around but have to be built to specifications, which take a long time; time we did not have, because of the urgent need.
The solution then posed to us was an honest alternative of an almost brand new Power Plant made up of 2 x 6.5 (13) Mega Watt Units for US 9.8 Million with all attendant buildings, ancillaries and accessories; but you sat back and allowed local anti interest to derail that prospect, creating a media firestorm, as if it was a corrupt deal. A prominent businessman declared then that the country doesn't need any used plant, "we want new plant".
After taking all legitimate and transparent procedures by securing cabinet approval, financing and awaiting Tenders Board sanction, this option was abandoned and you subsequently while in Anguilla secured the services of retired judge Don Mitchell to inquire into the matter to specifically find if there was any corruption involved.
Both Mr. Potter and I were not fearful of this inquiry but availed ourselves and cooperated. In the end we were cleared of any corruption but we were dragged through the mud and ridiculed for our transparent and honest attempt at solving that crisis to relieve the population of the constant electrical blackout that plagued the country then. The price tag was US 9.8 million.
Next is the manner in which we, as a government, have treated the Hadeeds and APC, who have been good to the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda as a family and corporate citizen.
When we were out of options to meet our electricity demands approaching Cricket World Cup in 2007, it was you who invited me to your office to meet with Ambassador Ramiz Hadeed. My recollection of this is that you reminded me of the friendship and financial contribution to the UPP for elections of 2004 from that family.
You opined that you would like to see the friendship rekindled between myself and the Hadeeds and that since we were looking for additional power generation you suggested that I give them the opportunity to be part of the proposed few to compete for APC to provide the additional power to APUA.
We shook hands and I proceeded to work out a joint venture arrangement of which you are well aware. This arrangement provided for the Hadeeds/APC to purchase and comission a 34 Mega Watt Power Plant with their own resources at no additional drain on the coffers of APUA, government and the people while earmarking 45% shares to APUA which was to be paid for from the profits at the end of each financial year.
Mr. Elsworth Martin was on board with my strategy even though he thought I could not pull it off.
It was a tough sell but I prevailed in what I still believe was best for the country. My heart was torn when you reneged on that strategy that I had worked so hard to achieve.
To this day I cannot believe my government caused Armed Forces to be set upon these people/friends as they tried to land those generators, which later were called upon in our hour of need.
The result of this is the ongoing legal battle which further deepens the injustice and pain that is being perpetrated between both parties:
This cannot be good for the country. All this could have been avoided because there was no need to saddle the country with this US 47 million debt when the power generation capacity was sitting on the island at APC.
And now the Wadadli Power Plan issue is upon us. The nation wants answers and is not satisfied with what information has been made available though your recent press conference for which I was out of State.
Prime Minister those photos being revealed by the opposition through Carib Arena and other media sources, must be refuted with tangible evidence that the US 47 Million loan secured from the People's Republic of China is properly accounted for through transparent and truthful documentation to the nation. It cannot be wished away.
I come now to my most recent difficulty. I have a problem wrapping my head around the truthfulness as to the status of the plant as this controversy rages on.
Since commissioning this plant the government has gone on record in declaring it to be New. Mr. Prime Minister when I posed questions to you in the cabinet, you confirm then that the engines were indeed new. However, I was shocked by your revelation, since I had reported that in a telephone conversation with Ambassador David Shoul, he informed me that we (meaning he and APUA) negotiated for the purchase of used generators and that he never told anybody that the generators were new.
We have a conflict here, because I couldn't dream up this revelation and I swear before god and country that this conversation and revelation took place between Ambassador Should and me.
Prime Minister you invited Ambassador Shoul into the Cabinet sitting by way of your open cell phone speaker and put to him my claim, to which my Cabinet colleagues and I heard Ambassador Shoul ranting and raving as to my mental state and disclaiming what I reported to Cabinet.
Again I believe you allowed this invasion into the Cabinet meeting for my character and integrity to be assaulted in the meanest way by a non Cabinet member, all be it your friend, whose side you clearly supported.
Now Prime Minister after all I've endured at your hands and with particular reference to my experience with the Power Generation needs of the country, I can ask for nothing less than a full and transparent public inquiry into this affair and go further by recommending some national organizations and persons to see this through.
Chairman Henderson Bass
Lawyers David Dorsett or Kelvin John
One (1) member from the Chambers of Commerce
One (1) member from the Employers Federation
One (1) member from the Christian Council
One (1) elected Member of Parliament from the government
One (1) elected Member of Parliament from the opposition
One (1) member from the TUC
Further, so as not to create any national buzz with regards to my request for a public inquiry, I have referred only to your deputy, Hon. Harold Lovell, rather than involving the entire Cabinet.
I await your decision in this regard for only by this action the nation can feel not cheated and that I can feel confident I am a part of something wholesome and something worth fighting for.
Your attention and response to this most urgent and important matter is required; soonest.
Minister of Health- Hon. Willmoth Daniel
Cc: Hon. Harold Lovell- Minister of Finance