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Opposition concerned about 'undue influence' in 360 megwatt selection process

Published:Tuesday | September 17, 2013 | 2:52 PM

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), is raising questions about possible undue influence in the selection of a preferred bidder for the 360 megawatt plant by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) given the absence of a director general.

The OUR has been without a head since Zia Mian stepped down in February.

His then deputy, Maurice Charvis was later appointed to act in the position for an eight month period, effective February 10.

However, the JLP says it is troubling that the entire bidding process is being undertaken without a confirmed director general in place.

The Opposition argues that the director general's presence would ensure that the process is free of any undue influence or considerations.

While noting that there have been several missed deadlines in relation to the project, the JLP says the Government must ensure that the entity selected has the financial strength to build the power plant.

It argues that if this project fails after a preferred bidder is selected, Jamaica would lose credibility with serious energy investors and the high cost of energy would be squarely the result of failed government policy.

After missing last week’s deadline, the OUR is expected to announce tomorrow which of the four bidders has been selected to construct the plant to supply 360 megawatts of energy to the national grid.

The OUR said it missed the deadline because of what it calls unforeseen legal and other issues.

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