Amaila Falls Access Road to be completed March 31 – Willis

31st January, 2014

KINGSTON - All sections of the Amaila Falls Access road will be completed by March 31 of this year divulged Walter Willis, the Ministry of Public Works Chief Engineer to members of the media today, January 31 at Minister Robeson Benn’s office.

The road snakes through Regions 10, 7 and 8.

The Ministry held its annual 2013 year-in-review where representatives of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA); Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB); Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA); Transport and Harbour Department (T&HD); Works Services Group (WSG); Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and Permanent Secretary within the Ministry, Balraj Balram gave projections for 2014, as well as, their performance for 2013.

According to Willis as of December 31, 2013 - 80 percent of the 162.41 km road has been completed.

In giving a breakdown of the Access Road progress, the Chief Engineer revealed that Section A  is 89 percent completed; Section B - 32 percent;  Section 3 - 73 percent; Section 4 – 99 percent; Section 5 – 98 percent; Section 6 – 55 percent and Section 7 – 74 percent.

Outstanding is placing laterite on all sections, Mr. Willis added. Additionally, three bridges have to be built and the Kuribong and Butukari Pontoon Crossings have to be erected as well.

“In addition to that, 2.5 kilometers in Sections 2, that is, the swamp section has to be high filled,” Willis said. 

Transparency of AFHP is moot – Hon. Benn

25th July, 2013

KINGSTON, Georgetown – The question of transparency for the mammoth Amaila Fall Hydro Power (AFHP) project should be “a moot one” since key stakeholders had possession of the project’s documents for more than a year now.

This sentiment was expressed by Minister of Public Works, Hon. Robeson Benn, on Tuesday during a tour with reporters.

The US$840M AFHP has been in the headlines on a daily basis after the combined opposition voted down a Bill and a Motion at the last National Assembly Sitting to propel the hydropower project forward.

According to the Works Minister, proper project management has been practiced on the large scaled project’s conceptualization.

“…when we had difficulties on this project whether it was a Guyana company or a foreign contractor that failed we dealt with them. Whether it was Synergy or whether it was Bovell, or Pasha when they did not perform we dealt with them. We are running a proper project…and it is being done in the national interest. We dealt with those things and issues and the question of transparency and so on is a mute one now given that all the documentations were given since last year March have been provided to all those who may have an interest in it.”

The AFHP is expected to generate reliable, affordable and clean energy and the project is a fundamental component of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).

It is intended to significantly lower Guyana’s carbon footprint while reducing the country’s long term energy costs and exposure to the volatility of imported oil prices.

The project involves the construction of a hydropower plant in the area of west-central Guyana, where the Amaila and Kuribrong Rivers meet. Electricity produced at the plant will be delivered to the Guyana capital, Georgetown, and its second largest town, Linden, by an electric transmission line.

67 percent of Amaila Falls Access Road completed!

24th July, 2013

KINGSTON, Georgetown – The 165 kilometer access road to Amaila Falls is 67 percent completed, Minister of Works Hon. Robeson Benn announced to journalists during a site visit on July 23. The road snakes through Regions 10, 7 and 8.

So far, Government has injected US$12M on the laterite surfaced road.

The US$840M Amaila Fall Hydro Power project is one of the country’s transformational projects intended to bring an estimated 160 megawatts of power into the national grid. In essence, Guyanese would have access to cheaper and reliable electricity.

“It is estimated that the Project could see a reduction in electricity rates by as much as 40 percent while the fuel import bill could drop between 20 and 25 percent,” the Minister explained.

But with the combined opposition making every effort to block further progress, the Works Minister lamented that monies and human resources would “all be for nothing”.

“This is the first time in Guyana’s history that a project of this scale [has] come this far…we have everything in place… we are ready to go so it would be a shame and a great reversal of our country’s fortune if we are unable to continue this project,” he pointed out.

In giving an overview to the road’s progress, Hon. Benn disclosed that the complete alignment for the road is finished, while the embankment is still to be completed in section seven – that final part is currently executed by China Rail First Group Company Limited.

Furthermore, a number of bridges are constructed along Section 2(B) of the road, and a technical team is reviewing the critical issue of a crossing at Kuribrong River, where a bridge will be erected. He also noted that there will be a river crossing at the Essequibo River which will also be a Barge crossing as well.

Boosting direct employment

Close to 240 Guyanese including residents living in close proximity to the road have benefited economically, Minister Benn revealed.

“We have young people as engineers, technicians, labourers, equipment operators… a wide range of Guyanese to realize this project and we also have our partners to make this a success. Great benefits will be incurred in the present and the future and we want to hold the door open for discussions so that all Guyanese will get on board.”

The road is expected to be completed by December 31, 2013.

Guyana will remain underdeveloped without hydropower – Hon. Benn

23rd July, 2013

KINGSTON, Georgetown – “Our country will always remain poor, backward and underdeveloped if we cannot address the question of [hydro] power,” declared Hon. Robeson Benn, Minister of Public Works and Communications on Thursday, July 18 during the National Assembly sitting.

He was at the time trying to convince the country’s opposition members to support the US$840M Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, which is predicted to greatly ease the cost of electricity to Guyanese.

“We have always said that the missing term in our development equation is cheap power…when we look at our waterfalls all we see is power going to waste,” Hon. Benn stated. “…here we now have the ability in our Parliament to make the kind of decisions which would solve this great problem in our country.”  

But despite his pleas to the members of the combined Opposition to throw their weight behind the project for the country’s in, they used their one vote majority – 32 to 31- to shut down the debate on the Hydro Electric Power Amendment Bill, which would place the [Amaila] project on par with the standards set out by one of the projects major backers – the Inter Development Bank (IDB).

In addition to that, the Opposition voted against a Motion to increase the limit of guarantee given on the Guarantee of Loans (Public Corporations and Companies) Act.

However, the action was slammed by His Excellency President Donald Ramotar. In a televised statement issued on Friday, the country’s president lamented that the move was “an act of terrorism”.

“Their actions now place the project, the largest in Guyana’s history, in jeopardy,” H.E Ramotar stressed.