Friday, 31 August 2012 02:31
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John’s - Senior member of the Antigua Labour Party Molwyn Joseph has challenged the position of Finance Minister Harold Lovell, who charged that government had long tabled the documents governing the controversial Wadadli Power Plant (WPP) agreement.
Lovell made the disclosure Wednesday on the Observer AM programme.
But speaking on the same programme on Thursday, the Member of Parliament for St. Mary’s North said that he was the one who had requested that the said documents be tabled but what was received was actually a select few and not by a long shot the complete package.
Minister Lovell had charged that the opposition’s continued requests for the WPP documents were baseless considering that all the documents had long been tabled in Parliament and was accessible to the general public upon request.
Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer tabled the documents.
“When I went to Parliament to collect the documents, I realised that several of the documents were not presented to parliament. So when the minister said that yesterday I realised that he was not forthright with the truth to the people of Antigua & Barbuda,” Jospeh said.
According to the former finance minister, government failed to table at least three other vital pieces of documents that should have accompany the agreement to make a proper interpretation of what is written.
“We only got one of those documents and unless you get the other three, you will not be able to interpret the agreement referred to by the Minister and the Prime Minister. So we are left in a position where we can’t make head or tail of this contract that the Prime Minister has presented to Parliament… So the Minister is not correct,” he said.
The “General Condition of the Contract for the EPC Project”, “Technical Documents” and “Memorandum of Understanding” signed on November 11, 2006 are the documents Jospeh claims government failed to submit.
These are all “critical” components of the entire agreement, he said, since several companies were involved through subcontracts in the overall completion of the WPP engines.
“Unless you get these documents, you will not be able to make any sense of the agreement that the Prime Minister submitted to Parliament. And it is regrettable,” he said.
Only APUA technicians who were charged with inspecting the engines before they were completed and shipped to Antigua reportedly saw just two of the six units.
Further, Joseph said he has since the presentation of the contract made informal indications to Prime Minister Spencer about the absence of the three critical pieces to the puzzle but received no response.
He does not believe that his “informal indications” had any bearing on the fact that he was ignored, taking into consideration the “experience” so far in dealing with the WPP matter.
“I believe it is deliberate and in this whole experience of dealing with the Power Plant, I have come to the conclusion that there is a deliberate attempt to keep information from the public of Antigua & Barbuda and certainly Members of Parliament,” Jospeh said while describing the experience as “extremely frustrating.”
Joseph said he has resorted to “other means” of getting technical documents about the power plant, a move he had adopted following reports of “replacement parts” costing millions of dollars being ordered to improve the efficiency of the plant at a stage unfitting for the plant’s proposed age.
The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) is allegedly footing these costs.
He said he has managed to secure “reliable information” to support the latter notion and has taken the decision to release that information at a “strategic time.”
“It is time we bring closure to this and the only way we are going to bring closure to this is for the government to come out and give the information to the public,” Joseph said.