Spencer, ambassador defend Antigua-China relationship
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said the government’s agenda will not be derailed by detractors.
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, January 20, 2012 - Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has stoutly defended this country’s relationship with China as controversy continues to swirl about the condition of electricity generators at the recently commission US$47 million China-funded power plant.
He said the “unpatriotic and dangerous” attacks by the main opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) and sections of the media seek to derail the relationship between the two states.
“I can guarantee you that the government’s agenda will not be derailed by our detractors, particularly those within the Antigua Labour Party who are vigorously doing the bidding of others at the expense of the people of Antigua & Barbuda,” Spencer said Thursday during the handover of a facility on the sister island, Barbuda, funded by China.
“The 30-megawatt power plant is fully functional and providing reliable power.”
The ALP has been clamouring for full disclosure following the publication of pictures showing what appeared to be aged generators.
Opposition Leader Lester Bird, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, has asked Antigua & Barbuda’s Ambassador to China, David Shoul, to appear before the parliamentary group to answer questions.
He said expert advice has also been sought from an unnamed international agency.
Ambassador Shoul, who negotiated the power plant deal, has accused sections of the media of engaging in “yellow journalism” designed to malign, derail and smear the co-operation and trust between the two countries.
“I sincerely apologise to your country and to you, Ambassador, for those elements who resort to misinformation guided by insatiable greed for riches and economic dominance,” he told China’s Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda Liu Hanming.
The power plant is expected to save the state-owned Antigua Public Utilities Authority $2.7 million (US$1 million) per month.
Antigua & Barbuda and China established diplomatic relations in 1983, less than two years after the Caribbean nation attained political independence.