ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Protestors seeking information from government about the controversial Chinese funded Wadadli Power Plant have promised to up the ante until their demands are met.
That’s according to one of the chief organisers, Vere Bird III, who yesterday led the group of picketers outside Shouls Toys Gifts and Housewares on Newgate Street where they called upon the storeowner and Ambassador to China David Shoul to reveal details regarding the deal for the US $47 million power plant and substation at Crabbs.
The group, which has tripled in number to 15 since last week’s protest outside the Chinese Embassy, is also demanding answers from Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer who said the matter would go before Parliament for discussion at the next sitting.
“We want our answers now and we want them to do the right thing. We don’t intend to be picketing in the sun forever so if we don’t get an answer soon we will move into the middle phase of our plan with regards to this power plant issue,” Bird III said.
He charged that the loan agreement, regardless of whether it is taken to Parliament now, was executed in breach of the law.
“The horse has already bolted from the stable. It is already too late. If the members are not in support of the deal, what can they do? They cannot nullify it so it makes no sense for him to tell us it will go to Parliament at the next sitting,” the protestor said.
In addition to the plan to step up protests, Bird III said the group would not drop the use of the Taiwanese and Tibetan flags as features of the protest, despite discouraging remarks by PM Spencer and opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) leader Lester Bird.
Spencer and the ALP leader agreed the use of the flags was inappropriate but Bird III has insisted there is nothing unlawful about their use hence, yesterday the flags were again flown during the picket.
“We are paying them no mind on whether to use the flags; neither Baldwin Spencer nor Lester Bird. We are acting within the law in doing what we have done,” Bird III affirmed.
Apart from the two politicians, the Chinese Embassy had critised the move and said it had nothing to do with the power plant but was rather interference in Chinese affairs.
For several weeks, the protestors have been calling on government to release the statements of agreement it signed with EXIM Bank of China to deliver the multimillion dollar plant, its equipment and the substation that was provided at an additional cost.
The deal was sealed in March 2008; the plant was commissioned September last and to date the details have not been put before Parliament.