Tell us, PM!
Opposition presses for full disclosure on Cahill project
Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams has questioned the sincerity of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s promise made at a St James South constituency branch meeting in mid-September that nothing would be done in the Cahill waste-to-energy project “by stealth or under the cover of night”.
Abrahams reminded Barbadians of Stuart’s vow while speaking in the Senate today on a Government resolution seeking to compulsorily acquire a parcel of land at Vaucluse, St Thomas for the Sanitation Service Authority’s green energy programme.
He argued that Government was indeed executing the project under the cover of night in spite of the Prime Minister’s assurances, and that there was a need for full disclosure.
“I, like the rest of Barbadians, am not party to what the Government has done in this. I am not party to anything further. Has there been a specific environmental impact assessment study done? I would like to hear whether one has been done. That would start to allay my concerns, or it may start to allay some of them . . . Why doesn’t the Government come clean? What agreements have been signed in the name of the people of Barbados? What is the Government afraid of? We the people of Barbados need to know,” the Opposition legislator said.
Abrahams referred to a letter dated March 3, 2014 from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Chief Executive Officer of Cahill Energy Claire Cowan, which referred to a meeting of February 28 in the Prime Minister’s office at which the proposed St Thomas facility was discussed, and which assured the Cahill executive that Cabinet had approved the project.
“Our due diligence practices require that the
agreement now be submitted to a review by the
Solicitor General’s Office of the Attorney General’s Chambers and receive that entity’s certificate in order for my office to proceed to the signature of an agreement that binds the Government of Barbados,” he quoted the letter as saying.
The letter gave Cowan the assurance that the process would be “to our mutual benefit” and asked her to be patient while good governance rules were being satisfied “and as we proceed towards the commencement of this important project.”
The letter concluded by assuring the chief executive officer that the document was being reviewed by the Solicitor General and would be completed not later than March 12, 2014 at which time Government intended to close the agreement.
Barbados TODAY could not verify the authenticity of the letter, but its existence was not denied by Government legislators.
While addressing the St James South constituency branch of the Democratic Labour Party ( DLP) in mid-September, Stuart assured DLP supporters that any solutions arrived at in relation to waste management
would not be taken “by stealth or under the cover
Stuart, who is responsible for the Town Planning Department told the audience that it was the Chief Town Planner who recommended approval or disapproval for the construction of buildings but the Prime Minister had the final say.
At that time the Prime Minister stressed that no decision had been taken on the issue and as a result there was no need for alarm among the people of Barbados.