Controversy continues to surround Chinese contractors operating around the region -this time it’s in Antigua where one of the island’s Members of Parliament, Gaston Browne, has called for a probe into a Chinese built US$47M power plant.Browne has sent a letter to Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer calling for an investigation into the Wadadli Power plant.According to reports, the opposition has said that the plant has been the focus of intense debate with suggestions that it was constructed with used equipment.This claim has been refuted by the Antigua and Barbuda Public Utilities Authority.According to reports, after threats to stage mass protests over the facility, the Antiguan Government announced that it had set up a ministerial sub-committee to consider a request by the opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) for a probe into the controversial Chinese built US$47M Wadadli Power Plant.The opposition in Antigua had raised a series of questions about whether value for money has been obtained for this project.The controversial Antigua power plant is another in a series of projects by Chinese companies in the Caribbean that have encountered stormy waters.And the recent move by the Antigua opposition could trigger a domino effect throughout the region, where it is expected that several Chinese-funded projects could be questioned.Already several major projects here in Guyana and in Jamaica have attracted suspicion of corrupt practices over the violation of procurement procedures.In Guyana, many questions have been raised about the competence of the Chinese company that built the US$200M Skeldon Sugar Factory which has been a source of much concern since its completion.The mega project which was conceptualized to be a boost for the local sugar industry, has been a virtual white elephant with mechanical problems after mechanical problems plaguing the plant.And with the period of liability expired, the Guyana government will now have to bear the additional cost of effecting repairs to ensure that the factory works to specification.The Baldwin Spencer administration in Antigua has come under unrelenting pressure to mount a probe of the plant which was not functioning in recent weeks because of the lack of money for maintenance.A release from the Antigua PM’s office said “Cabinet, during the weekly meeting on Tuesday, July 3, appointed a Ministerial Sub-Committee to consider a letter sent by the Parliamentary Representative for St. John’s City Gaston Browne, which asked Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer to conduct an investigation into the Wadadli Power Plant.“The Ministerial Sub-Committee is comprised of Minister of Education, Gender, Sports and Youth Affairs Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, Minister of National Security and Labour Dr. Errol Cort and Minister of Finance, the Economy and Public Administration Harold Lovell.“The role of the Ministerial Sub-Committee is to study Mr. Browne’s letter and to make recommendations to Cabinet.“The Ministerial Sub-Committee has 14 days to fulfill its mandate.” Browne, Chairman of the ALP, this week threatened to lead street protests in Antigua over the plant.The Antigua Observer reported Brown on July 4th as saying “The ALP is not prepared to sit down and allow the Prime Minister to sweep this issue under the carpet. We will definitely demonstrate to force an investigation, and the investigation that we will push for will be a Commission of Inquiry”.The plant, opened last September, has been mired in controversy ever since.In an interview with the Antigua Observer on June 25, Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) Electricity Manager, Deion Sanders Falcons Jersey, Lyndon Francis, said that while financial and technical challenges forced a temporary shut-down of up to five of the six engines, the company has the capacity to effectively manage the facility in the long term.The engines were down during the period April 7 to May 26 this year, causing the company to rely more on private provider Antigua Power Company.
Date: 10 Jul 17 07:26pm
Bill likes Parliaments and he also likes pantomimes. Sometimes he gets them mixed up. Last Thursday it was Guyana National Assembly time and the school kids were lining up outside. They were from Victoria, the first free Black village in BG, and were there to help present a petition with two very distinguished supporters-Triple President ABW Poole and Colin Bobb Semple. The kids had a long wait.Due to start at 2.00pm, the sitting actually began at 2.14pm.The members came from far and wide in Prados and Land Cruisers. Corbin had his own bag carrier, NCAA Hockey Jerseys, others able to manage it for themselves.Bill met old friends. Minister Nadir bearded him, “You say when I get this job all I will do is cut ribbons and make speeches. Wot you say now?” Does he have the Collected Cotton Works beside his bed?It was payday for all so the House seemed unusually full to get to those plain white envelopes. Some even came from more lucrative pastures across the road. Lawyers led by the effusive Basil Williams dapper in shades. Nandlall followed much later with some natty shades too. Is there a shop in Croal Street which has lawyers discount on sunglasses? And why did the Attorney General not bring his pair? Has he put them to pasture?Bill saw the Government’s senior legal adviser in deep conversation with Corbin and Sam. Were they discussing exchange rates? Corbin didn’t stick around long though. He did the petition then vamoosed. Bill did not see if the bag carrier followed. But at one point the most senior person left on the PNC front bench was Basil W–one heartbeat away from power!Bill spotted a new thing–this has become the Blackberry/Laptop Parliament. Lots of members passing time on the net. Even Speaker Ramkarran joined in and had a laptop brought to him by a flunky. But the PPP side seemed to have a huge laptop advantage. Could the PNC all be waiting for Bharrat’s One Laptop per Family to even the score? We should be told!The debate –if you can call it that– was average. Young Robert Montgomery Persaud growing in stature and bringing in three technical agriculture Bills. Hardly riveting stuff as Bill’s snores showed. The speeches against were equally riveting (not) only livened up by the PPP’s licensed jester and heckler Neil Kumar taking on all and sundry in verbals.What did the Victoria kids make of this panto? Well they lasted an hour and a half before filing out during a second (or was it a third) Montgomery Persaud speech. They were ‘hungry’ and went for food. Not long after the honourable members followed them to the trough. Bill was long on his way with his old friend Naga. He’d lost the will to live hearing RP talk about the ‘Seed Bill’.But let me share with you a lovely vignette as Bill was leaving. A snitch went to speaker Ramkarran and pointed out Bill’s shirt ‘outside he pants’. He got short shift. “We make allowances for him cos he is a very distinguished guest, ” said Mr Speaker whilst pointing out, subtly, that he had seen Bill taking forty winks in the Chamber.See what Bill means about Panto/Parliament? Catch it yourself–few performances left before the October Election. Now ’Look behind you, Sam!’Pip!Pip!
Date: 10 Jul 17 07:25pm
NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE – Berbicians were given the opportunity to search and find cash for Christmas last week when Digicel took the Merry Mansion Game Show to the Ancient County.The venue was the Little Rock Television Station in New Amsterdam. There, the first five persons to show up dressed in red were afforded the opportunity to play a smaller version of the game which was previously held in Georgetown.Digicel Merry Mansion winners in New Amsterdam along with Aditya Kids Trust Foundation fêtes West Berbice childrenThe prize money – $100, 000 in total – was placed in red envelopes and concealed at different spots in the studio and the contestants were given 60 seconds to hunt for the prize.Top winner was Cameal Seeram of Number Two Village in East Canje who walked away with $40, 000. Next in line were Adrian Sankar of Number Two Village on the West Coast of Berbice – $25, 000; Ruksh Tekean of Albion – $20, 000; Dane Johnson of New Amsterdam – $10, 000 and Nandalall Baburam also of Number Two Village – $5, 000.Marketing/Communication Manager Alea McDonald noted that from the inception, the original Mansion in Georgetown saw lots of persons from Berbice being selected and this was Digicel’s way of reaching out to those in the Ancient County.The Merry Mansion Game Show offers Digicel’s customers a chance to win millions of dollars and other prizes. To qualify for the original game show, a pre-paid customer must top up his/her phone with $500 or more and those on the post-paid plan must pay their bill in full.From all those who satisfied this condition, 15 random persons are selected live on NCN at 08:05 hours every Thursday to go the Mansion. There, the figure would further be reduced to five contestants who would actually search the Merry Mansion.But no one walks away empty handed since those who were not fortunate to get inside the Merry Mansion would each receive $5, 000 free credit. The five winners would be given a Nokia E63 handset in addition to what they would have found.The Digicel Merry Mansion Game Show began on November 18th and concludes on January 7th 2010.Ms. McDonald posited that this unique television show does not only see the actual winners running laps around the excitement track, but brings enjoyment to home viewers as well. She said a total of $500, 000 is added weekly along with the cash left in the Mansion after the each search.The person with the highest amount rolls over to the following week and automatically gets into the mansion to search for more cash. Ranole Bourne was the winner for the first week with $146, 000 and went on to win $295, 000 but was knocked out by Melissa Abrams who won $305, 000 that week and went on to the following week where she found $205, 000 and subsequently $185, 000. Melissa Abrams is the contestant rolling over and would be back this week to search for more cash.According to Tagman’s PR Executive to Digicel, Shonnet Moore, Wholesale Authentic NFL Jerseys, the Merry Mansion game show in Georgetown is aired on NCN in Berbice, Linden and Georgetown, CCB and LRTVS in Berbice, RCA in Essequibo, Tarzi in Bartica, HJTV in Georgetown and Mahdia Television Station each Sunday with a re-broadcast every Wednesday.
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