Who is lying?
Kaieteur News – Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo must be living a haunted existence. His own words and the actions of his Government are coming back to haunt him frighteningly.
In a recent radio interview, Mr. Jagdeo was insistent that any thought and any talk about private investors being a part of the Wales gas-to-energy (GTE) project was some new “rumor” and outright “lies”, nothing but figments of the imagination.
It so happens that the Government of Guyana (GoG) had a public advertisement in July 2021 that called for Expressions of Interest (EOI), and it is what is in there that turns Mr. Jagdeo’s arguments on their heads.
Though Mr. Jagdeo may seek to hide behind words and construct hedges to screen his real objectives, they still possess revealing truths all by themselves. Still, as we look closely at that July 2021 advertisement for the Wales GTE project, we ask our fellow citizens to be the judge on who has it right, who is telling the truth (or lying) about private investors, and their likely presence in this hotly disputed US$2B project.
The July 2021 advertisement specifically states that the “Government of Guyana (GoG) invites EoIs from interested parties for….” and “applicant or consortium” and “parties”, among similar such identifiers. Of special note are two extracts from the same July 2021 advertisement for EoIs for the GTE project. First, “EOI may include each element individually but can respond to all elements.” The second extract reads, “Proposals will be especially welcome for small scale ammonia/urea, protein synthesis, cement, glass manufacture, ceramics and other industries….” relative to “value-added” areas.
The Vice President may delight in cunningly twisting all this to his advantage. But what is undeniable is that “interested parties” and “parties” do not exclude anyone, any individual operating in his own capacity or under the umbrella of a “consortium”. There is open invitation and room for such private investors (“parties”) to participate in the Wales GTE project. Because Guyanese should be extremely familiar by now with how the Vice President has conducted the important business of Guyana, especially when big projects are involved, they should recognise what is going on here. The wide net that the July 2021 advertisement casts could attract any and all parties, and this has all the prints of a classic Bharrat Jagdeo operation. It certainly opens the door for private investors to be considered to be part of the GTE project, and there can be no arguing with that.
Drilling down deeper, our first extract from the advertisement clearly indicates that an EOI could be for any single element of the GTE project. In other words, this massive project could be separated into parts (elements) and shared out to private investors, who meet the requirements, whether they do so singly or in the disguise of a group with others of some record. We assert that this gives ample space for single element EOIs to be considered and awarded in this manner, meaning that private investors come out as winners. Guyanese have seen, as presented by this paper, how our tendering and award system leave much doubt as to the integrity of the work done, especially with some contractors who win bids in the most mysterious circumstances. We point to those as precedents in the bigger stakes of the Wales GTE project.
Further, we point to the extract reflecting that “Proposals will be especially welcome for small scale” involvement in downstream areas of the project. The key words are “small scale”, and they are loaded, for whenever the Vice President is near such cleverness, then all bets are off, no matter how innocent matters appear. Small scale could be the convenient tent under which lots of magic is worked.
All in all, we wouldn’t have grounds to present these positions, if Bharat Jagdeo had conducted himself at the highest level, and incurred the highest regard, with other multimillion dollar projects that have failed to pass basic smell tests. We are sorry to say so, but he hasn’t. This is what is reoccurring with this biggest project to date in Guyana’s terrible history with capital projects. The July 2021 advertisements lays the table, and the truths about who is really lying will soon surface.