ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A month after chastising government for its slow response to public queries regarding the US $47 million Wadadli Power Plant deal, political commentator Arvel Grant said he believes the debate may affect the ruling United Progressive Party’s (UPP) results at the polls in 2014.
“What the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) succeeded in doing is putting a significant scratch on what the UPP hoped would have been one of its flagships policy achievements. Good opposition politics do those kinds of things,” Grant said while speaking on OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues yesterday.
The commentator maintained he does not believe there is anything obscure about the deal for the Chinese funded 30-megawatt power plant, despite photographs that suggest the generators are old and since a government-organised press conference failed to provide answers that politicians and journalists have been seeking.
“No one can question the opposition politics the Labour Party has brought to that process. The UPP has not gotten as much out of it as it could have from a public relations point of view. It is going to come down to how the court and the people rule when they get a chance to do so on this matter,” Grant said.
The political commentator was referencing the court battle between the Hadeed-owned power company – Antigua Power Company (APC) Ltd – and government in which the former is challenging a Court of Appeal ruling which said it did not have a binding contract with government to provide 50.9 megawatts of power to the country.
He was also making reference to whether the issue would influence how electors cast their votes in the 2014 general elections.
Grant warned journalists to be wary of how they question and report on the matter, bearing in mind the political genesis of the matter.
However, President of the Antigua & Barbuda Media Association Colin James said while there exists some media organisations that have their bias on political matters, he finds that in recent times journalists or media houses have been branded as biased whenever they pose questions that are political in nature.
At the same time, Chairman of OBSERVER Media Group Winston Derrick distanced the organisation from any form of bias with regards to the issue that has been publicly debated since January.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)