ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer is of the view Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) management dropped the ball as it relates to its preparedness to address scheduled maintenance of the Chinese funded Wadadli Power Plant.
However, even as he criticised the Authority’s management, Spencer whose portfolio includes APUA, assured there would never be a recurrence of the generators being taken offline for an extended period due to lack of finances to cover maintenance costs.
“It was unfortunate that that approach was adopted at the time, but I can assure you that that will not happen again and the fact of the matter is that whatever has to be done as part of routine maintenance, the question of money should never, ever be an issue in this regard,” Spencer old OBSERVER Media.
The cash-strapped statutory body said it could not meet maintenance expenses hence the engines were down during the period May 26 to April 7, causing the company to rely more on private provider Antigua Power Company (APC).
Yesterday, Spencer responded to the statement saying the Authority ought to have ensured it had systems in place well in advance given the fact the power plant has been mired in controversy for several months.
Among the numerous allegations are claims the engines are old and the country did not get value for the US $47 million spent to build and equip the power plant.
“In light of what has been happening in the public out there prior to what developed, that should not have been allowed to be an issue because if it is, yes we know there are financial challenges but there is always ways of getting around these challenges and deal with situations that are priority, important and urgent,” Spencer said.
Spencer said the development might have added fuel to the situation, although he said it is far removed from “some of the wild accusations that have been levelled against the government, APUA and the Chinese as it relates to this power plant.”
The country’s leader’s comments come on the heels of similar sentiments expressed by Public Works Minister Trevor Walker.
Last week Walker criticised APUA for being slow out of the blocks in responding to mounting public criticism about the purchase of the plant.
However, Spencer yesterday said he is of the view that, regardless of whatever documentation or information is provided, the issue would not be dropped since it is allegedly “predicated upon an approach that would suggest the campaign has got to be waged whether right or wrong.”