PADARATH: RIC Running From The People, Aborts Consultation
Shadow Minister for Public Utilities, MP Barry Padarath, who has been very vocal about the manner in which the RIC is handling a proposed electricity rate increase, is calling on the RIC to stop running from the people of Trinidad and Tobago as well as to stand up and face the music.
Several Opposition Members of Parliament came out to support and speak out on behalf of their constituents yesterday, but many were turned away as Chairperson of the RIC, Mrs. Dawn Callender ended the meeting abruptly.
At a briefing held immediately after the aborted consultation, the media was made to understand that Mrs. Callender refused to re-start the meeting even after the MP’s assured her that there was nothing to be concerned about since there was a large presence of Police officers to ensure order and security was met. Padarath and his colleagues, during the briefing, informed the crowd gathered and those tuned in via the UNC’s Facebook page that offers of dinner and additional community police were made to no avail and instead Callender walked out on the people and their representatives.
Padarath has stated that this latest incident proves that these consultations are nothing but a sham. He added that the RIC could not expect to have persons come and simply be shut down without eventually expecting an overflow of emotions. The MP stated that people cannot afford anymore and last night was evidence of such.
The MP has been calling on the RIC to truly go into communities, rather than having large meetings which are not accessible to those in rural areas. He has also been recommending the RIC include MP’s in the process, this call was supported last night by MP for Couva South, Mr. Rudranath Indarsingh, who stated that his office was never once consulted by the RIC before coming into his constituency.
MP Padarath said the very language being used during opening comments is proof that the rate increase is a done deal and that these so-called consultations are nothing but a mamaguy to the people to tick off a box in the process.
The Shadow Minister is warning the government that yesterday’s events should act as a gauge as to the mood of the country. The MP added that the government is putting the citizens’ backs against a wall and they simply cannot take anymore.
Padarath is once again calling on the RIC to be transparent and honest in their duties, to go back to the Minister of Public Utilities and tell him that citizens are resoundingly saying “not now.” Any true consultation would result in no other action, Padarath concluded.