“The Minister of Public Utilities’ comment that citizens should be grateful that they have access to the kind of public utilities provided by the government reeks of the arrogance, disconnect and disgust that Minister Gonzales and his colleagues have for our citizens. For the record, it’s the duty of the government to provide certain services including water and electricity to the population. That is his job, at which he is failing miserably!” That is the view of Shadow Minister of Finance, Davendranath Tancoo.
MP for Oropouche West Tancoo was responding to a newspaper report on comments by Minister Gonzales.
Tancoo said “It is hypocritical that the Minister wants citizens to be thankful for his inability to ensure that citizens have a reasonable water supply during a health pandemic. Thousands of households who had a regular predictable water supply before the PNM took office now suffer weeks without water and the Minister wants citizens to celebrate that? The Minister needs to tell the population why certain parts of this country have been denied a proper supply since his government assumed office.”
The Minister cited various programmes provided to help people to put the infrastructure in place, but according to Tancoo, “Citizens could do every self-help project and run water lines throughout the areas abandoned by this PNM government, and many communities have. But, they remain held to ransom because there is no water in the lines for weeks! ”
MP Tancoo pointed out that residents are now reduced to having to call WASA to beg for a tank of truck borne water on an irregular basis, and even that takes several days to be provided. So in addition to having to pay a WASA bill, people now have to buy water privately to meet their domestic needs.”
“One wonders if this is a deliberate strategy to facilitate certain private contractors engaged in supplying water for a fee. It is curious that residents cannot get water yet these contractors have easy access to a continuous supply of potable water at a profit. These suppliers provide a critical service only because the Minister has failed at his job.”
In the past three years there have been three nationwide outages which resulted in damages to citizen’s electrical appliances, machinery and equipment in addition to loss of frozen foodstuff etc. No one, be it private citizen or business, has been compensated for these losses to date. Moreover, no one has been held accountable.
“Now instead of manning up to his failure and trying to fix his failures, the Minister closes his eyes to the runaway water supply crisis, pretends that citizens have a reliable water supply, and tells the country to be grateful for his and government’s incompetence? ”
Tancoo continues, “It is because he comes from a government that treats citizens with contempt, sprinkling crumbs while friends, family and financiers gorge themselves at the treasury’s table. If it’s not rentals, it is multi-billion and million dollar contracts to a chosen few in the financial, construction and service sectors.”
“Minister Marvin Gonzales should be thankful that citizens’ taxes are paying his salary and perks because this level of incompetence would have seen him fired a long time ago if he were in the private sector” said MP Tancoo
“Come down from there, Minister. Stop talking down to citizens and do the job their taxes are paying you to do. You have failed miserably. If you want to give citizens something to be grateful for, then you and your incompetent corrupt government should resign. “