KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration should stop interfering in the operation of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), former manager Daniel Cummings said last week.
Cummings, an opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament, managed the CWSA both under NDP and Unity Labour Party administrations.
“I will tell you categorically, the government, then was not interfering in the CWSA and if they did, I would have resigned instantly,” Cumming said of his tenure under the NDP.
“I said that at a public function while serving as manager. … I recognised it as a critical element in ensuring that the institution performs at its best under the New Democratic Party government,” he further stated.
“You should probably ask why I couldn’t last long under a Unity Labour Party government.”
Cummings was asked to continue as manager of the CWSA when the ULP came to office in 2001. His contract was not renewed some years later and he subsequently entered politics.
He said last week that during his stint as manager of the CWSA, there was “far too much interference” from the ULP administration.
“So, I know, I have been there in both instances and I know what it is like … But you see, I have what it takes to stand up for what I believe in and that will be my position ‘til I die,” the West Kingstown representative said.
He said that the rates the state pays for water used at government facilities are as much as 40 per cent of what other consumers pay.
“The government must pay its reasonable share. Leave the institution to function without interference in its operation. Stop sending people to be employed who don’t qualify to be employed. Stop interfering in the award of contracts so that we get the best value for money,” Cummings said.
“Those are the things that helped the CWSA under NDP administration to function efficiently and effectively. That is why the service was not only enhanced but extended throughout the country,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, CWSA manager Garth Saunders, speaking at a separate press briefing last week, said that the CWSA has in the past been “charged with being a republic on our own”.
“We are still given that status by some and I believe part of it gives the impression that we are so rich that you don’t need to pay us. But it is not that,” he said.
“We are here because we are semi-autonomous and we are able to make decisions based purely on technical decision, solely on what is required to provide top quality service and you have to give all the governments, past and present, credit for allowing the CWSA to function is such a way,” Saunders further stated.