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Cummings: Government not paying its bills to CWSA

Cummings: Government not paying its bills to CWSA

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Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings is of the view that the Central Water and Sewerage Authority is about to raise its rates, because the government does not pay its bills to the Authority.{{more}}

While making his contribution to the 2012 Budget debate on Wednesday, Cummings, who is a former general manager of the CWSA, said he wants to let the people know why there must be an increase in water rates.

“We are told that we are going to get an increase in water rates. We are not told how much the increase is going to be. Mr. Speaker, I want to let our people know, … the reason why there must be an increase in water rates.

“I want to let our people know why, because it is not dissimilar to what has happened to what was the National Commercial Bank. The government of this country does not pay its bills to the CWSA!” Cummings exclaimed.

According to Cummings, the government owes the CWSA “in excess of three and a half million dollars”.

“We who pay water rates are being asked to subsidize the government. We must pay higher rates because the government is not paying for the excellent service provided by the institution,” he said.

Cummings said he is not speaking of money owed by state corporations, but that owed by the government.

The hike in the cost to the consumer for the delivery of water and solid waste services was announced on Monday, January 9, by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves during the 2012 Budget Address at the House of Assembly.

Explaining the need for the increase, the Prime Minister said it is vital that we maintain and extend water and solid waste services at the highest quality level.

“Currently, the cost of these services can hardly be covered by the price paid by consumers, much less to pay for the recent capital developments such as at the Windward Water Supply System, and further planned expansions nationally to meet growing demands from both business and domestic consumers. The data show that the cost of delivery of water and solid waste services to the consumer is significantly lower than elsewhere in the Caribbean,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister pleaded with consumers not to be “demagogic or unreasonable” about the price increase.

The CWSA has called a press conference for Tuesday, January 17, when the new rates are expected to be announced.

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