CHARLESTOWN: The Netherlands Antilles-based West Indies Power Nevis (WIPN) says it is appealing a recent court ruling that the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) says allows it to now cancel its contract to develop geothermal energy on the island.
In a statement issued last weekend, the NIA said as a result of the court ruling, it is now free to pursue the development of geothermal energy with interested parties other than the WIPN.
However, WIPN manager, Kerry McDonald, said the NIA has misinterpreted the court’s ruling.
“NIA wanted a declaration that WIPN could not pay its bills,” said McDonald. “The court gave such a declaration which we are totally upset about…because there is no evidence or fact to prove that…and because of that we have spoken to our attorneys to file an appeal. The significant part about this is that the court specifically said that this was just a declaration and it did not cancel the license of WIPN.”
However, Energy Minister, Carlisle Powell, said what the court ruling means “is that the slate is clear for us to move forward again”.
Powell said that while the NIA will not rush back into an agreement to develop the sector, it has received interest from other parties.
“We think what we should do is take our time about geothermal power in Nevis,” he said. “We are still interested in developing geothermal power and we still see geothermal power as being to the greater good to the people of Nevis.”
Last year, the NIA filed suit in the Nevis High Court to have WIPN declared insolvent. According to the court documents, the NIA is using the court to get out of its deal with WIPN and have its exclusive license to produce geothermal energy on the island revoked. NIA has claimed that WIPN is indebted to a number of companies.