As an average Guyanese I wish to echo the sentiments that the Minister of Finance made when he delivered the 2012 Budget in the National Assembly and said that “the prevailing dispensation will test and hopefully prove our resolve as a people, and within this House our respective will to serve as responsible representatives of a deserving people, to work together in service to the cause of national development.” I would have liked to think that all of our members of Parliament would have shared the same view; however, to my dismay, I noticed in the KN of April 2 that the AFC is playing politics with the government’s proposed increase in the Linden electricity tariffs.
It is unfortunate that a matter such as this is turning out to be a political football. Already the AFC is claiming that the electricity rate the Lindeners will be paying would skyrocket, when the Minister said quite clearly in Parliament that “reforms will be initiated to the tariff subsidy with the aim of giving effect to a progressive alignment of the national rates that are applicable to the GPL grid.” Nowhere in that statement did the Finance Minister say that Lindeners will have to pay the full cost of the electricity they use, or what percentage they will have to pay. However the AFC is presumptuous in saying that the cost would skyrocket as if they have a ‘skyrocket rate’ in their mind for the people of Linden to pay.
I am a strong supporter of electricity subsidies for the people of Linden. I am aware of the depressed state that the community was in under the previous PNC administration. However, after receiving billions in investment from this government over the past 20 years not only in terms of infrastructure but in water, health, education and jobs, I would think that the people of Linden would also support a small increase in tariff for electricity.
The AFC politicians should tell the people of Guyana that a pensioner does not pay for electricity if they burn under 300kw, and if they do burn over 300kw they pay only $5 per kwh. They should also tell the Guyanese people that residents in Linden pay only $5 per kwh when the rest of Guyana pays $64 per kwh.
Given the cost of fuel for GPL and knowing that it is operating in a manner whereby all Guyanese do not have to feel the full impact of the rising cost of generating electricity, I believe that there should be a national effort to ensure that this company does not run at a loss, because then all of us will suffer and the dark days of constant blackouts and going all day without electricity will meet us again. I hope the AFC puts the issues of our country first rather than hurrying to score political points just a couple of days after our budget was presented.
According to the KN article Mr Ramsaroop said that “We have come to ensure that Linden regains its rightful place and gets what every other area in Guyana is getting.” I did not know that the people of Linden did not have proper roads, running water and housing. I saw paved streets for the first time in the history of Linden, I saw a US$12 million water treatment plant and distribution system being done in Linden and I am also aware of the hundreds of house lots being given out to the people of Linden. So I want to assume that when he speaks of the people of Linden getting what every other area in Guyana gets, he means they should pay the $64 per kwh.