In his first turn at the crease for the second time as Minister of Public Utilities, Fitzgerald Hinds has again failed to deliver.
This is the immediate reaction from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh who is challenging Hinds’s statement in the Senate yesterday that the Penal/Debe region had not been receiving a pipe-borne water supply for over 21 days.
Did Hinds simply rattled out a prepared script or was his statement made after his own due diligence and investigation on this issue?
Indarsingh said that Hinds’s statement about the harsh dry season which had impacted WASA’s ability to supply water to the country was, once again, an excuse rather than a reason why many areas, especially those that are represented in Parliament by the Opposition United National Congress, continue to be affected by a water shortage crisis that they have been experiencing for over four weeks.
Indarsingh said that the Minister’s statement in the Senate reflects his inability and unwillingness to empathize with the hardship and suffering of citizens. Indarsingh said that as a Member of Parliament, he will never forget Minister Hinds’s statement when seven fishermen from Carli Bay were murdered on the high seas and Hinds’s off-the-cuff response that because there was no Government MP in Central Trinidad, there was no need to empathise with the people of Carli Bay and the families of these fishermen.
Indarsingh said that the country has two seasons and every year, under this Keith Rowley-led PNM Administration, the Minister of Public Utilities and WASA have been exposed as being impotent on dealing with the situation of firstly a drought during the dry season which is followed by massive flooding in the rainy season.
Indarsingh said that in his own constituency of Couva South, his constituents have been without a pipe borne water for over a month and their pleas to WASA continue to fall on deaf ears.
Indarsingh said that in the very last months of the Keith Rowley-led PNM Govt, along comes this absolute and monumental failure Fitzgerald Hinds who has been shifted from Ministry to Ministry and now he has been reassigned to the Public Utilities portfolio, he does not expect Hinds to impress as a night watchman in his second stint at this Ministry.
Hinds’s predecessor Robert Le Hunt, who suddenly resigned last week, had promised the country an adequate supply during COVID-19 and while the country remains in a state of partial lock down because of the health crisis, there has been no improvement to the supply of water to citizens.
The Couva South MP said the PNM promised “water for all” going back 55 years yet this current Rowley-led Administration has not been able to put in place a sustainable water development and distribution plan. The PNM has always treated the issue of a proper and regular water supply to ALL of the country as a political issue rather the citizens’ right to water and sanitation.
There is not a shortage of water in Trinidad and Tobago; the continued lack of a reliable and trusted water supply rather is the result of successive PNM Administrations’ tardiness in allowing the country’s water infrastructure – its reservoirs, treatment plants, distribution system, pipes, and sewer systems remain in a state of disrepair
Indarsingh reminded the population that in 2015, the last year of the Persad Bissessar-led People’s Partnership Administration, improved water sources in Trinidad and Tobago were available to 95 percent of the population.
He promised his constituency and the country that in a few months, the issue of the management of our resources, including a reliable water distribution system, will again be a priority of the new UNC Administration.
Member of Parliament for Couva South and SHADOW RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT.