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Grenada Government And WRB In War Of Words

Grenada Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell. Photo courtesy of CARICOM.

Grenada Government And WRB In War Of Words

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, November 3, 2017 (CMC) – WRP Enterprises has denied allegations, made by Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, that it is attempting to influence the outcome of the next general elections in Grenada, as the war of words continue over the re-purchase of shares in the island’s lone electricity company, GRENLEC.

“We have never, and will never, interfere in any way at all in Grenada’s political process. Our sole purpose is to provide the best electricity service possible, to the people of Grenada,” the company said in a statement.

Mitchell, speaking at a recent news conference where the privatisation matter had been raised, told reporters “We have information (and) we will disclose it sometime soon, of WRP’s possible attempt to interfere in the political process in this country.”

Mitchell revealed that another un-named company was also involved in the move, adding “it is no wonder every time a certain political group opens their mouth in this country, they support WRB and they curse the government and people of Grenada, and the other company has done the same thing”.

He has promised to “expose them”.

But in a statement, WRB Enterprises, which, according to its website, assumed management for all electricity generation, transmission and distribution services for Grenada, following the privatization of GRENLEC in 1994, denied the allegation.

WRP Enterprises and Grenada Private Power Limited (GPP), a 50 percent shareholder of GRENLEC, said they wanted to “set the record straight”, and that they have made “no contribution, support or involvement in Grenada politics, ever”.

“In response to recent statements made by Prime Minister Mitchell in the media, WRP and GPP would like to take this opportunity (to) present the facts and set the record straight,” they said, indicating that despite being approached by all political parties, “GRENLEC, WRP and GPP have never made a campaign contribution to any political party, since the GRENLEC privatisation in 1994.”

The companies said they have always been “steadfastly neutral”, in relation to Grenada’s politics”, adding that over the past 23 years, WRP and GPP “have transformed GRENLEC from being an outdated undercapitalised and politically managed utility into one of the most reliant, efficient and best-run utilities in the Caribbean”.

The government and WRP are at loggerheads, after GPP submitted its formal demand for the government to repurchase GPP’s shares in GRENLEC, saying that this was issued in accordance with the binding privatisation agreement, referred to as the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) that the government entered into with GPP and WRP in 1994.

GPP said that the privatisation agreement requires the government to repurchase the GRENLEC shares that the government sold to GPP, if it elects to take certain unilateral actions, “which cause serious operational impairments or economic injury to GRENLEC or its private sector investors”.

It said that the government’s decision to unilaterally enact the Electricity Supply Act of 2016 has triggered numerous repurchase events under the SPA, and that the Mitchell administration is now obliged to re-purchase the shares estimated at EC$176.65 million.

GPP and WRP have since filed a request for arbitration with the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

But Mitchell said his administration “is going to seek justice for this country and we are going to continue to expose those who sold off the country’s rights for 74 years to WRB…who is insisting that that monopoly system that they received in 1994 remains.”

Mitchell said that Grenada is the only country in the Caribbean with such an agreement, adding “even Dominica, where WQRB is, there’s liberalisation for energy generation”.

He said that WRB wanted to have a monopoly situation here, “is investing in Jamaica in the liberalised electricity system, but Grenada must remain under their control”.

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