Wednesday, 20 June 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St John's - Senior ALP member Molwyn Joseph has responded to the recent call for unity within the Antigua Labour Party by ALP members Gaston Browne, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, and leader Lester Bird regarding the Wadadli Power Plant.
The trio called for increased unity on the issue, and demanded an end to the “cannibalization” by some members of the opposition.
MP Molwyn Joseph recounted that back in December it was him and Robin Yearwood that raised issues about the plant concerning cost, operation and condition at that time.
Joseph said he has long taken a public position on the matter with the interest of the public at heart and he could not understand the deputy leader’s statements.
“I never thought that I was being divisive. I thought I was performing my duties as an opposition member of parliament. Whenever I speak as a politician I speak for the people who elected me and in the interest of all people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Joseph said.
Joseph added that he takes a certain amount of pride in saying that he has contributed significantly to the debate and the dissemination of information on the matter to the people of Antigua.
“I do not understand the statement of the deputy leader. He has had the same opportunity as I had to do his investigation and probing to find out what happened between Antigua, China and the company. I am flabbergasted that any of my efforts could be seen in any way other than serving the interest of the people with the consequence of putting the ALP in a better light in terms of its responsibility as an opposition,” he said.
The former government minister also noted that several individuals within the party have decided that instead of joining the fight to make the government accountable, they have taken something of a neutral position.
Further, Joseph said he took offense to an alleged statement made by the ALP chairman that the people promoting the idea that the engines are old are paid mercenaries.
“I would interpret that to mean that he does not support the view that the plants are old, which he has the right to because he claims not to have seen evidence,” he said. “I have seen evidence and I trust my judgment… so we differ on that.”
He said documents requested of the government still remain missing, and the submission of these could have put a rest to the situation had they all been submitted to the House at the last sitting in late May.
“I am at a loss to understand why my effort to dig deep and to force the government to account could be anything but constructive,” Joseph said.
It was also noted that a group from within the ALP has been on the ground for over six months speaking on the matter and Gaston Brown could have used the same opportunities as these people, without restriction, to express his position from the onset.
“If at this point the party is now seeing the importance of uniting behind this issue then it is indeed a positive development because it is clear that the expenditure of US$47 million by the government being done illegally without parliamentary approval and almost in secret, with no public documents and the restrictions of visiting the plant, makes it the most important issue of accountability in the country,” he said.
“The bottom line for me is that if the ALP is going to unite and join those of us in the fight, I more than welcome everybody not only in the party but the country to make sure that the government is forced to account. That is the issue… one of accountability.”