No increase in government subvention to CWSA

KINGSTOWN St. Vincent – The central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) will not get an increase in the EC$1.4 million subvention its gets from the government even as the company increases its rates to other customers.

CWSA customers will this month begin paying at least EC$5 more each month for water and garbage disposal.

The government owes the state-owned entity just under EC$3 million, according to General Manager Garth Saunders.

“What has to be done is for the central government to make payments in respect of their arrears and certainly to keep their current subvention up. That’s the objective,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told reporters this week.

“There is a subvention, which is inside of the Estimates for this year, which is close to about EC$1.4 million. That’s the subvention for this year,” he said.

Gonsalves further said that it would be “good for the government to clear the arrears while seeking to keep current on your quarterly payments …”

He said he was waiting to see who would be “seduced by the superficial argument that because the government owes the CWSA just over EC$3 million there should be no increase in water rates”.

He said that people were advocating that in the same way that the CWSA disconnects other customers that are in arrears it should disconnect the government also.

“So they must cut off the hospital, cut off the schools? Who consumes the water? Who owns CWSA? Who guarantees the debts of CWSA?” Gonsalves said, adding that the government has to guarantee CWSA loans and repay them if the company is unable to do so.

“In any event, the price of a service which is delivered is not determined on the basis of receivables. … The price of a service is determined by the cost of delivering that service.”

He said that the government has invested in CWSA but has not received and is not expecting a dividend, adding that in 2001, when the ULP came to office, the New Democratic Party government owed the CWSA EC$2.5 million.

“Payments will be made, as payments have been made, on an on-going basis,” Gonsalves said. “[Does] Ralph Gonsalves uses the water down at the hospital? I use it here [at the Office of the Prime Minister] but if I got to the hospital I will use it.

“We obviously have to keep the CWSA viable and we obviously have to make sure it maintains the high quality service which is being delivered. And the fact of the matter is that water in this country is cheap and it is the cheapest in the Caribbean, so, too, the delivery of solid waste services,” Gonsalves said.

Read also: Households to pay at least $5 more for water

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7 thoughts on “No increase in government subvention to CWSA

  1. When the deceiver back is against the wall he always look for someone else to cast the blame on, if the NDP owed money to the CWSA this give you the right to owed CWSA too? Mr. PM two wrongs can’t make it right, pay up your bills and then you can criticize the NDP

    Posted by vin jobe | February 3, 2012, 06:28
  2. Garth Saunders I think you are a coward and you have stuffed the citizens. Any man with any real guts would stand up to the government and make them pay their real dues.

    CWSA is a limited company, the shareholders are not entitled to rip it off, to pay a pittance for the product, and to owe it millions of dollars. Nor should any member of government be able to tell the company who to cut off or who to connect, nor be in the position to allow customers to abuse their payment to the company.

    The people pay tax’s which should fund the government and allow them to be able to pay their bills. If the government fails to pay the bills, that action will obviously cause the other clients to pay more for their water. That means that the public is paying twice for their water.

    Gonsalves is a known liar, a man that has said himself that he sometimes tells lies. Can we believe any word that a liar utters.

    Its time to suspend the Christian Blood airport at Argyle. Pay all the bills and debts that the government owes to land owners, companies, individuals, truck owners and numerous others. Not just for this project but for other projects going back years.

    Building the airport has bankrupted the country. So called promises of financial help by Venezuela are considered by some to be based on lies by Gonsalves. He told us that the Venzuelan’s would be paying the wages of the Cubans. That totals today about $10 million and SVG has been paying it.

    Francis and Gonsalves told us that the airport project was being paid for by a ‘coalition of the willing’ that it would not cost the people of SVG a cent, when the airport is finished we would have no debt. That has turned out to the greatest lie ever to be laid on the people of SVG.

    Cubans have been getting three times more wages a week than Vincentians doing similar jobs. They send the money home to Cuba, we do not get the benefit of that money circulating in the Vincentian economy. Why we need to support these Cuban leaches is beyond me. There is nothing that they can do that a Vincention or regional worker cannot do. Is this an ideological exorcise on the part of Gonsalves?

    Also time to get the Cubans out of our ministries, and government departments.

    In Cuba the average wage is US$25 a month, in SVG the are paid more than a US$100 a day, some several times that amount, what is going on?

    Garth Saunders it may be time for you to resign.

    Gonsalves its time for you to get out of our lives, I think you have brought disgrace and shame to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.


    Posted by Peter | February 3, 2012, 08:34
  3. Peter, your prime objective seems to be to get rid of garth Saunders and nothing else, is there something personal here? I don’t understand

    The reports say that in 2001 that the new Gonsalves government taking over an NDP treasury owed Cummings’ CWSA $3.5 million out of a total CWSA revenue of $11 million (32% of revenue)and Cummings could not collect. He did not make that known to the public, neither did he stand up to Gonsalves….cause his job was at stake.

    But seriously, did you really expect that he would have been in his right mind to demand of the government, his employers, that they send more money to CWSA? He couldn’t and he didn’t do that cause he was a sane and intelligent man. What he did in fact do a few months later was to ask Gonsalves, not to increase the subvention…. but to start charging poor people $5 for Solid Waste and to also INCREASE the rates for water and sewerage to poor people by 10%.

    In 2012 ten years later, the same Govt owes the Saunders CWSA $3.2 million out of a total revenue of $23 million a mere 14% of revenue!! Why then should Saunders resign if Cummings did not……remember Gonsalves Government owed the Cummings CWSA MORE than they owed the Saunders CWSA.. both in terms of actual dollars owed and percentage of Revenue owed.

    So you need to get the facts right Peter, the situation today with Government owing is bad, but let us not give the impression that Government never owed the CWSA and that Cummings is brave and Saunders is not….

    Posted by Carl | February 4, 2012, 01:57
  4. Thank you Carl, nice well thought out inteligent observation.

    The government are not his employers CWSA is, he should be in control not Gonsalves. I dont hate or dislike Saunders, only his actions, or inactions in this matter.

    Whilst people like Saunders put up with gross interference by government and the prime minister, they are encouraging them to continue doing so.

    We are not discussing the past, we are discussing what is happening now, every year things should get better, every year they are getting worse under this Marxist regime.

    As for Cummings, like Saunders he is a proffessional, how they use their proffesionalism is what counts.

    Posted by Peter | February 4, 2012, 08:32
  5. Thanks Peter, i realise though that your argument goes beyond CWSA! . But, let me explain my knowledge clarify the employment situation.

    The CWSA is a government owned statutory corporation. Gonsalves the head of Government told us this week that CWSA’s loans are guaranteed by the government. CWSA’s actions are governed by a CWSA Act and accompanying regulations. Government (Gonsalves) appoints a Chairman and Board to run the CWSA and carry out the Government’s policy. Cummings (and now Saunders) reported to that Board who reports to the Minister of Health who reports to Gonsalves…. If that doesn’t make the Government the manager’s employer then I don’t know what else does. But it just shows you how far down the chain the manager of CWSA is. IF foolishness is going on, the resignation of the manager will not stop this, another person will simply be inserted. Removal of the persons doing the foolishness will!

    I am sure that Cummings realized this and therefore saw no sense in standing up to Gonsalves or even RESIGNING while he was there. Whatever constraints Cummings had back in 2002 are the same constraints that Saunders has now.

    But don’t you find it a tad disingenuous of Cummings, having NOT resigned and having not stood up to Gonsalves in 2002, when he increased rates with Government owing so much, to now publicly claim that Saunders is weak and ‘political” for not standing up to Gonsalves to demand an increased subvention in circumstances where the Government is now owing CWSA less than what they owed when he was at the helm in 2002? That is the real issue here. See what politics does to professional men…..

    I am sure if you look at the reality and facts dispassionately you will see that the attack on Saunders by both yourself and Cummings is badly misplaced, especially given the fact that he has led the institution admirably over the past few years with all those constraints. They are were both excellent managers, none should be lauded at the expense of the other

    Posted by Carl | February 4, 2012, 13:02
  6. The government guarantee the loans because if they didn’t then no one would loan CWSA money. Its like having a relative who wants a loan, he cant get a loan because of his or her status, you guarantee the loan.

    Remember most of what this government does is paid for by someone else, like the EU or the World Bank, they only want to deal with governments.

    The shareholders elect the board of directors, the majority of shares are owned by the government with some minority holders for legal purposes.

    I am sure your quite right if Gonsalves said Saunders is out then he is out, regardless of how that may work in theory and moreso in practice.

    To hold onto your job because you want to keep your job regardless of what, then that is where I disagree with Saunders. If he is in charge and if government policy is to refuse to pay their proper share of the water cost’s, or not to pay at all, which is unfair to the majority of the clients, then he should have enough backbone to resign.

    People like Saunders and Cummings are difficult to come by, and replacing Saunders will only help bring the CWSA to an end sooner.

    CWSA will be sold by the government, just like our bank was, because it will be the only way out, loans obtained by the Government will be unable to be repaid when the time comes.

    We are just a short time away from financial collapse. We are a bankrupt state, the government owes numerous exland owners at Argyle for their land, three years overdue in payment. Many traders and suppliers in Kingstown have not been paid. Owners of small trucks have not been paid. Numerous government employees are being paid months late or not at all.

    Posted by Peter | February 4, 2012, 15:36
  7. Peter, you have not yet addressed the Cummings hypocrisy, he was in exactly the same situation like Saunders with the same dilemma and he did not resign. Why is it in your 5th paragraph you disagree with Saunders ONLY and not Cummings as well…when in fact they both responded in exactly the same way when faced with identical situations?

    I am trying to be objective here and not political….. Maybe you do want to change Gonsalves and the Government but this CWSA situation is not unusual or new ……. just saying…… Good discussion anyway.

    Posted by Carl | February 4, 2012, 21:45

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