ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has given the Opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) the commitment that he will discuss its call for an independent investigation into the Wadadli Power Plant with Cabinet.
The promise was made to ALP deputy leader Gaston Browne during talks in which Spencer also promised that “following discussions with the Cabinet,” he would officially respond to a letter outlining the opposition’s concerns.
He was referring to correspondence dated June 25, in which Browne, as ALP chairman, detailed apprehensions about “the old engine fiasco” which has occupied the attention of the nation for more than six months.
“The meeting was very informative,” said the prime minister, who had issued the invitation.
The national leader noted that during the session, he raised with Browne the ongoing campaign mounted by interests within and outside of the ALP to “deliberately spread misinformation to advance their own agenda.”
The Wadadli Power Plant, financed by the government of China and constructed by a company from the Asian country, has been mired in controversy since its commissioning last September with questions raised about the state of the engines and the financing agreement.
Browne has told the prime minister that government’s “failure” to be “totally transparent” and “accountable” has given rise to “speculation” and the “belief” by many that the engines are “old.”
And the MP for St John’s City West has challenged Spencer to “prove conclusively” to Antigua & Barbuda that the equipment is new and that the nation received value for money with the purchase and commissioning of the power plant.
The facility is operated by the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), for which the prime minister has responsibility.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)