Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has said that government is waiting on WRB Enterprises to sit around the table in discussion on GRENLEC on the critical issue of liberalisation of the industry.
Addressing the nation last week Thursday night, the Prime Minister said the intention of the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration is to provide a better livelihood for all Grenadians.
According to PM Mitchell, WRB Enterprises and associated company, GPP have been “hostile to the very idea of the sovereign government of Grenada seeking to liberalise the electricity sector to provide a fair opportunity for all.”
He said the problem that exist between governments and WRB is not one that is being experienced in other Caribbean countries where the company is doing business.
He stated that the directors have actually taken advantage of the decision to liberalise electricity in other Caribbean territories.
“Grenada’s policy is not radical, nor inconsistent with regional best investment practices. In Dominica, where WRB is also the dominant partner in the electricity company there, the liberalisation of the sector has not hurt their viability. In Jamaica, where WRB entered a recently liberalised market, they have shown that they can survive and thrive by investing in alternative sources of energy”, he told Grenadians.
“…As the Government of Grenada, our wholehearted desire is to continue to have WRB here as a partner in our development. We respect the role they have played in other open markets. We hope that this very attitude could be transferable to Grenada – because the people in La Borie, Grenada, have the same dreams and aspirations as those in La Borie, Dominica. The people in Harmony Hall, St David’s, want to access cheaper rates of power, as the people of Harmony Hall, Jamaica, have begun to do,” he said.
WRB has invoked a clause in the agreement which calls for government to buy back Grenlec at a price set at EC$175 million.
With government’s failure to accede to the request, WRB has referred the matter to an arbitration body within the World Bank to resolve the impasse with the Mitchell-led regime.
The Prime Minister was also critical of those Grenadians who he said were giving support to WRB against government on the liberalisation issue.
“…What we cannot understand, and cannot explain, is the attitude of a small band of fellow Grenadians, who have been so short-sighted in their dreams to attain power that they are rooting against the 100-thousand shareholders of this country, which include them. I hasten to remind them that this land would not only be for the inheritance of our children, but theirs too”, he said.
“…In this vein, we are still waiting on WRB to sit down with us to discuss a way forward that will guarantee the ultimate viability of GRENLEC, as well as a better livelihood for all Grenadians. No glitsy advertising campaign can negate the Grenadian reality of high electricity rates. Many ordinary people see it in their bill statements every month; too many small businesses have gone under because of it; our hotels have struggled to stay afloat also, as a result,” he remarked.