Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017

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GP&L Episode 2
(Aired 28 April 2003)

   On April 16th 2003 the new Chairman of the Guyana Power and Light Mr. Ronald Alli fondly referred to as Power Ron met the media to brief them on, quote "the steps which the board of directors are taking to place GP&L on a sound footing and deliver an efficient and cost effective electricity power supply to the country"

   Alli also tells us "as a result of the agreements which provide for the termination of all of the 1999 agreements to which the government of Guyana and AC power were parties, on April 9th  Government, as the sole shareholder of GP&L, appointed a five member board all of whom I am pleased to introduce here today"

    Before I continue to the people on this new board I want to pause and ask the question; why is GP&L still functioning as a company?

    This company was formed to accommodate a strategic partner ESBI, this strategic partner is no longer with us, so, why is this company still functioning? It took me 10 seconds to come up with the answer. But I did not like the answer, so I consulted a few friends, after I explained the problem to them we are all agreed, there is no reason whatsoever to keep Power and Light as a functioning entity apart from keeping it out of the preview of the public Utilities Commission. The Public Utilities Commission is an arm of the state to protect consumers from exploitation by public utilities especially those which are monopolies, so this new company which I am calling GP&L episode 2, does not want itself to be regulated by the PUC to benefit of the Guyanese consumer, it wants to continue setting its own rates.  

    So Alli's first statement as the new Chairman of the company is not true since he says that the company's new objective is to quote "deliver an efficient and cost effective electricity supply to the country"   

    This government has no problem passing retroactive legislation, they are doing it even as I am reading this commentary to you, clueless Kow is seeking to change our tax laws retroactively this is incidentally an occupation I find obscene. Why not rescind the regulations setting up GP&L in its entirety and let the PUC regulate our power rates. I believe that the TUC has already smelled the rat. 

   Now let us look at this board, the first there is the Chariman who will be Power Ron himself, now he was the chairman of GEC after Gaskin left it for around three years, until it collapsed prompting Sam Hinds to bring in a strategic partner to prop it up. Why put him as chairman again? He failed as chairman between 1996-1999, he failed as a director of the GP&L Board 1999-2003, inevitably he will fail again.

   I do not know enough about Mr. Errol Chung to form an opinion; Mr. Narvon Persaud knows his stuff as technical services manager of GUYSUCO.

   Mr. Carvil Duncan's appointment is shrouded in some controversy, the GP&L board tells us that he is there in his capacity as President of the Guyana Trades Union Congress, but the TUC tells us that he is there as Mr. Carvil Duncan esq. this needs clarification.

   On this board will also be the ever present Mr. Winston Brassington, now Brass is the executive head of our privatisation unit, he negotiates with the entities who want to invest private money in government's enterprises and I have never been comfortable with this dichotomous position.  How can anyone who is head of the Privatisation unit, negotiate with any investor impartially having the full knowledge that he will ultimately end up on the board of directors of the new company that is to be formed? how can anyone not be in a conflict of interest position doing this nonsense? Brassington should never be on any board that evolved from the process of privatisation. Additionally his presence on Boards seems to doom the entities to complete failure, GAC and now GPL. Here he is again on the board of GPL episode 2.

   Now we come to the parts that caused the vexatious issues in the first place, Alli tells us Quote "it would be useful for me to explain that the GPL license allows for the adjustment of kilowatt hours charged on the tariff rate to account for the cost of fuel. In fact the base rate could be increased or decreased depending on the actual cost of fuel in the previous quarter. This is described as a fuel surcharge or fuel rebate as the case may be" end quote

    Is anyone aware that any bill we have ever received from GP&L gave us a rebate? I am not aware of it and neither is anyone else.

   Mr. Alli cannot have his cake and eat it too and neither can Sam Hinds, if Power & Light still exists then they must pay us the 1.3 Billion dollars the PUC said they owe us for damages, if the GP&L is scrapped then clearly the debt should be scrapped also. That is fair isn't it? so why are we letting these people have their cake and eat it too?  If we cannot address the contentious issue of the utility setting its own rates and since they are maintaining the company as GP&L despite the disappearance of the strategic partner, for the sole purpose of using the regulations setting up GP&L to circumvent the PSU, then how come they do not have to pay us the 1.3 Billion dollars? Of course they do ladies and gentlemen, of course they do.

   The business sector and the private home owner are already reeling under the burden of the cost of electricity, but Power Ron tells us that if the ESBI's plan was not upset by Rambo Gaskin, we would have already been paying 32% higher rates. Well, Power Ron it is not an indictment against Rambo it is an acclaim, I am thinking of asking the Guyanese people to put a statue of Rambo next to Cuffy's since he is fighting a lone battle to free us from subjugation by this administration.     

    Power Ron then lists the benefits this new entity will give us, the second benefit he proudly tells us will be a saving of 60% of the management fee we were paying to AC Power/ESBI.    

   Ladies and gentlemen we were paying ESBI 3.6 million US dollars a year in management fees, 40% of that amount is 1.5 Million US dollars a year about G$300 million, this three hundred million will be used to pay qualified persons to occupy 4 positions Chief executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Commercials Officer. That is an average of 75 million Guyana dollars to each of these Officers per year. Is power Ron serious. These people will be getting 15 times more then our Chancellor the highest paid Public servant in the land. We can hire 1000 police officers or 1000 teachers for this amount of money. The first decision this board makes is complete foolishness ladies and gentlemen, what's next?

   I would also like to know if the directors of this GP&L episode 2 will get 1000 US dollars for every meeting they attend.

    The most hilarious part of this entire release by Power Ron to the media, is his appeal for the Guyanese to stop stealing electricity, well Ron when certain ministers stop stealing only then will you have the right to ask the Guyanese people to stop. In the mean time if you are supplying an absolute necessity which is too expensive for our citizens and they cannot afford to buy it, they will inevitably steal it.

    Ladies and gentlemen this concept is so self evident to me that I am astonished that it has not registered with these morons as yet.