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Jagdeo, Kamla to hold talks

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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PORT-OF-SPAIN – Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo was expected to fly into Trinidad last night to hold talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar Wednesday on a number of issues, including the prospect of relocating the aluminium smelter plant initially proposed for La Brea to Guyana.Sources told the Express that the discussions were expected to centre around the aluminium smelter, ethanol and hydro-electricity. Jagdeo is flying in from Canada, where he was on government business with his minister of housing.  Press Secretary Garvin Nicholas confirmed that Jagdeo would be flying in and that a meeting was “tentatively scheduled” with the prime minister for 3 p.m. today. Nicholas could not say what the talks would be about. However, sources said that Persad-Bissessar wanted to examine the feasibility of relocating the aluminium smelter plant to Guyana. Apart from the vast amounts of land that that country has, it also produces bauxite, the raw material from which aluminium is made. The other key ingredient in the manufacture of aluminium is natural gas, which Trinidad and Tobago has. And it was because this country processed this second ingredient that it had embarked on the project in the first place. However, the project has been stalled pending the outcome of an appeal, after the High Court found the Certificate of Environmental Clearance given by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) was deficient because it failed to consider a number of things. The EMA has appealed that judgement and the Appeal Court’s decision is pending. But informed sources said that any cancellation of the project could cost the country dearly. The last government entered into several agreements, including a loan agreement for US$400 million with Exim Bank of China, to facilitate the construction of the project. (Trinidad Express)