Former CWSA boss cries ‘Murder! Injustice!’ over new rates

Former CWSA manager and opposition legislator Daniel Cummings (Internet photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The new rates for water and waste disposal services announced on Tuesday left former manager of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), opposition legislator Daniel Cummings crying “Murder! Injustice!” yesterday.

Cummings, of the New Democratic Party, said at a media briefing that the government should not implement the new rates, which come into effect next month.

He said that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration should instead meet its obligations to the CWSA and increase the EC$1.4 million annual subvention.

Seventy-five per cent of CWSA customers will next month begin paying increases of at least EC$5, the second price hike since the ULP came to office in 2001.

However, the government will not be asked to pay more to the state-owned company, which it owes just under EC$3 million, CWSA manager Garth Saunders said on Tuesday.

Government facilities consume about EC$5 million in water a year while the government pays an EC$1.4 million annual subvention, according to Saunders.

“Consumers have done enough. Remove that adjustment to the water rates now!” Cummings said.

“The government is the largest customer and it is not paying,” said Cummings, who last week told Parliament that the government owed the CWSA EC$3 million, which Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves denied.

“When CWSA adjusts its rates, it comes three-pronged,” said Cummings, who noted that the basic charge — which customers pay even if they don’t use any water – will also be increased.

“That should be only adjusted very incrementally. But you find that it has a big jump because that is an easy revenue base. Secondly, your consumption charges go up depending on your level of consumption and, thirdly, the solid waste fee,” the Member of Parliament for West Kingstown said.

“Once you have a water connection, whether or not the truck comes in your area, you have to pay solid waste fee. That’s going up, too. So it’s a three-pronged increase on every bill. Bear that in mind,” said Cummings the opposition spokesperson for water resources.

“So they can talk and dance on the head of a pin. It’s when you get your bill at the end of February you’d understand what I am talking about. It’s substantial increase at a time when yo’ can’t buy butter bread,” Cummings further stated.

As far as Cummings is concerned, government facilities use about EC$12 million worth of water every year but the state still does not pay the total EC$1.4 million subvention.

“I am saying if the government even pays half of that — EC$5 or EC$6 million a year — the CWSA would be in a much better position and you and I will be able to continue to pay rates as we are paying today,” he said.

Cummings further said the new rates are 15 per cent and 20 per cent higher than the current ones.

“And they can coin it in all kinds of fashion. It is a substantial increase at a most inopportune time. A time when businesses are closing, when people can’t send their children to school. I have never come face to face with a situation like this.

“This government put an increase in 2007 already since they came to power … now, they’re coming back, not a 10 per cent, not a 5 per cent; 15 per cent now? I say oh God no! Murder! Injustice! Not acceptable!” Cummings said.

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9 thoughts on “Former CWSA boss cries ‘Murder! Injustice!’ over new rates

  1. The government under Gonsalves yet again thief the public’s money, this water increase is pure highway robbery, brought about by non-payment of the government entities water bills.

    Water bills will increase by up to 25%


    Posted by Peter | January 19, 2012, 09:31
  2. Is EC$60 a year a high increase for water? No.
    Materials used to treat water and waste (where possible) have increased in price worldwide so the cost has to be passed on.
    I will agree that if workers did not get a wage increase, taking into consideration that a lot of people working in Kingstown still gets under EC$600 (US$210 or £120) a month then this equates to $60 a year less they have to spend.
    If the Government isn’t paying their water bill, cut off their supply the same way you cut off domestic consumers for none payment.
    Would the CWSA allow the whole of West St George to accumulate that sort of bill and allow them to still have a water supply? No.
    In England, I was living in a 3 bedroom house and was paying £150 a year for water (un metered), I then moved to another 3 bedroom house in another area and they tried to charge me £750 a year for water (with the same supplier and un metered), so I called the company and ask them to explain why my bill went up 500% and they could not give me an answer that made sense. All they could say is that it is based on the ratable value of the property. Knowing what tax band my property is, I then asked if it is the local Government value that is used? They then chose to ask for my address which I refuse to give, instead I just refused to pay them.
    In England they cannot disconnect your water for non payment. lol

    Posted by Earlyn Warren | January 19, 2012, 12:10
  3. This article needs context. Its hard to get to an objective position if the total value of CWSA’s production is known. The article gives me cause to examine the situation but not to be alarmed by some one misbehaving in public.

    I am willing to pay for a clean and reliable source of water and refuse collection.

    Posted by offTark | January 19, 2012, 12:20
  4. I am also willing to pay, but the place still stinks. So where is this money being spent. The public toilets in K/town are in bad shape and smell terrible. The gutters are littered with garbage and no one seems to care. This situation seems to be taking place all over SVG. Where are the sanitary inspectors? Is it any wonder that mosquitoes have taken over the entire island? The government need to create a ministry of the Environment and let the person work on cleaning up the island.
    I am sure the people would pay more if the beaches and recreational areas are regularly cleaned for citizens to enjoy. I noticed that only the beaches in Villa and Indian Bay get that special treatment, why not the entire island beaches?

    Posted by Vere | January 19, 2012, 16:20
  5. what earlene warren talking about 60 .00 per year my water bill is 40,00 per month

    Posted by UNITY FOR SVG | January 19, 2012, 21:39
  6. Is an extra 5.00 dollars a month really too much to pay for something as vital as water and Sewage services? Funny but the people who complain are the same ones who has 2 or 3 cell phones and put about 10 dollars credit on them each day. They give their kids exorbitant sums of money to take to school. they are in on the latest shows, they buy KFC two and three times a week, they spend hundreds on their hairs and nails and are complainting about 5.00 dollars a month for water?..alyo should be ashamed of alyo self

    Posted by Amazona Guildingii | January 20, 2012, 22:13
  7. Why he didn’t cry “Murder! Injustice!” when he cut off almost all the public stand-pipes, forcing hundreds of poor people to use river and rain water????

    Posted by no-nonsense | January 24, 2012, 17:38
  8. You really are a bunch of dunce idiots, as Gonsalves would call you. No one with a meter will only pay $5 a month increase. $60 a year as someone said is not very much, yes it is if you have a fixed wage and have been conned out of any wage increase, and in many cases are not getting your wages paid on time or at all by this wicked Marxist regime.

    The only reason that the water rate has to increase is because the government industries and installations [inc hospitals, schools, government depts and offices] have failed to pay their water bills for years, they owe over 3.5 million dollars just for last year. So all you people are expected to pay more to cover the government theft of the water.


    Posted by Peter | January 30, 2012, 18:46
  9. Anyone knows how much of a BONUS the fella who BAWLED MURDER GAVE HIMSELF while he was the CEO of the CWSA?

    Posted by vincypowa | January 31, 2012, 03:54

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