Compiled by Sandra CA Ferguson
Timelines re Grenlec and the Electricity Sector, 1960–2007
Part 4 is an attempt to map key events in the evolution of Grenlec and the electricity sector in Grenada in order to be aware of the political and economic context of the various periods and therefore, assist we the people in putting in perspective the actions and decisions taken by our various political administrations. The writer apologises for any inadvertent errors.
|27 September 1960: Grenada Electricity Services incorporated – private company controlled by the Colonial Development Corporation, a statutory corporation established by the British Government.|
|28 September 1960: 1960 Electricity Supply Ordinance legislated|
|7 February 1974: Grenada attains Independence|
|13 March 1979: People’s Revolutionary Government assumes power and suspends the Constitution of Grenada;|
|1979: Grenlec is nationalised|
|October 1983: People’s Revolutionary Government implodes.|
|December 1984: The New National Party led by H A Blaize comes to office.|
|1985: Government of Grenada – USAID Grant Agreement; a conditionality of the agreement was the “development of a programme to privatise major state-owned enterprises”.|
|2 February 1990: The Worrel Commission of Enquiry is set up.|
|The Worrel Commission was mandated to “to make diligent inquiries into the conduct and management and overall operations” of a number of statutory bodies including the Grenada Electricity Services Ltd. (Grenlec) that was then managed by one, Gregory Bowen. All of these bodies were under the purview of then Minister of Communication and Works, Dr Keith Mitchell who had been removed from the position by Prime Minister Blaize.|
|The Worrel Report, released in March 1991, presents some most unflattering insights into the management of Grenlec during the tenure of Mr Bowen:
The report further noted in Chapter VII:
|March 1990: General elections results in National Democratic Congress, led by Nicholas Braithwaite, assuming office.|
|1992–1994: NDC Administration undertakes a Voluntary Structural Adjustment Programme|
|5 April 1993: Intent to privatise Grenlec is announced by PM Brathwaite via address to the nation.|
|15 September 1994: Privatisation Package Concluded:
|Among the Provisions of the 1994 Share Purchase Agreement were:
|June 1995: General Elections; New National Party, led by Dr Keith Mitchell, returns to office;|
|(a) Commission of Enquiry: established the Piper Commission of Inquiry set up in November 1995 to investigate the sale of Grenlec||No Evidence of Impropriety: The Piper Report did not note any evidence of impropriety.
Certain Provisions Not in Best National Interest: The Commissioners withheld any opinion as to whether the best terms were obtained by the Government re its shares in Grenlec. However, it was of the view that certain provisions of the Share Purchase Agreement were unfair to the Government and not in the best interests of Grenada.
|(b) A Legislative Committee constituted to investigate its allegation that Grenlec was charging illegally high rates;||A Joint Committee compared Grenlec’s rates before and after privatisation. The Committee reported to Minister Bowen, via letter of 15 July 1996 from W R Agostini – It “was of the unanimous agreement of the members of the committee that the actual rates charged by Grenlec over the period investigated, did not differ in any significant or material way from the rates obtained from the application of the old formula.”|
|(c) declared that for procedural reasons, the 1994 ESA had never taken effect;||While ESA was passed in Parliament in September 1994, it had not been proclaimed into law. The Government challenged the ESA 1994 in the High Court. The Piper Report note that it was matter before the High Court, “therefore we must not comment further on it except to say that it has not as yet been Proclaimed into law”|
|(d) Government sought to renegotiate of various provisions of the SPA (including the purchase price for the Grenlec shares||Via Communication in 1997, Minister Gregory Bowen, the Minister responsible for overseeing Grenlec, warned WRB – “renegotiation of the SPA was “not a matter of choice” and that it had “always been the clear position of this administration” that the SPA was “neither legally nor morally binding on the Government of Grenada” because the Prime Minister of Grenada, who had signed the instrument of ratification “had no authority from Parliament” to sign it”.
The WRB initiated arbitration under ICSID seeking an award compelling the GoG to repurchase the Grenlec shares for EC$18.7 million, calculated according to Second Schedule Compensation provisions – a capital gain compared with the EC$15 million purchase price.
|July 1998 Supplemental Share Purchase Agreement:
GPP and WRB were released from their obligations re environmental cleanup of Queen’s Park, “[i]n consideration of Grenlec’s expansion programme”
|7 September 2004: Hurricane Ivan ravaged Grenada: considerable damage to the electricity infrastructure;|
|January 2007: At the 44th Meeting of OECS Authority in 2007, Heads of Government agree to a proposal to set up a regional, regulatory authority for the electricity sector to address challenges of electricity supply and improving regulatory framework.|
 The first state-owned enterprise to be privatised under this agreement was Grenada Telephone Company Ltd. (GRENTEL). Dr Keith Mitchell, Minister of Communication, Works and Public Utilities.
 Report of the Piper Commission of Enquiry, pg. 3
 The Commission of Enquiry was conducted by Lindsay Irwin Worrel and began its public hearings on 5 February, 1990. This Commission of Enquiry was appointed by Prime Minister Ben Jones, head of The National Party, the breakaway faction of the NNP, following a fallout between Prime Minister Blaize and Dr Keith Mitchell, Minister of Communication & Works, over party leadership. PM Blaize fired Dr Mitchell. Prime Minister Blaize died in December 1989 and was replaced by Ben Jones.
 Bowen entered the political arena in 1995 and became the Minister of Communication and Works, in the New National Party administration of Dr Keith Mitchell following the elections of June 1995. He is currently the Minister with responsibility for Infrastructural Development, Public Utilities, Energy, Transport and Implementation.
 ICSID Tribunal Award, para. 80,81, 82 & 83, pp. 32-33
 ICSID Tribunal Award, para 82, footnote 74; pg. 32
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