The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is accusing the Government of using a proposed amendment to the law to limit the right to object to the granting of licences to power companies.
In press statement yesterday, president Dr Ronnie Yearwood warned that a pending change to the Electric Light And Power Act scheduled to be debated today in the House of Assembly will remove some of the rights to object to awarding electricity licences for big power systems, and to making representation to the minister about those terms and conditions.
“Last Friday, July 15, 2022, while many Barbadians were preparing for Crop Over events at the weekend, or simply getting on with their lives, the Government of Barbados gave notice of a Bill in Parliament to amend the Electric Light And Power Act, which is to be moved in Parliament on July 19.
“The amendment will severely limit the right of all Barbadian voters, consumers and businesses from objecting to, or expressing their concerns about, any application for a licence to supply electricity in Barbados, whether it is Barbados Light & Power or any other company that wants to generate electricity in Barbados,” Yearwood stated.
He cited an extract of the current act that gives the opportunity for “all interested parties” to make representation to the minister. He charged this was being removed and replaced with an instruction that any “interested party” will first have to justify why they are interested in objecting.
“Isn’t being a consumer good enough anymore to raise your concern over the suppliers of electricity that will ultimately affect the cost of your electricity?” Yearwood asked. “This will adversely affect all of us.
“Also, a committee has to determine if a person has merit to be an interested party. But there is no review process for the decision of the committee if a person who wants to be an interested party is turned down by the committee. Can Government publish the list of names of persons on this committee to notify Barbadians of its composition?”
The most “unjust and unpalatable part” of the amendment, added Yearwood, was Section 6.
He said it stated: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this section entitles an interested party to have access to the application of any applicant for a licence’.
“How can an interested party make representation about a licence application without any information about the application, the applicant and the activity to be licensed?” he asked. (PR/AC)