The United National Congress’ Anil Ram has accused Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales of giving “conflicting reports” into the Cabinet sub-committee’s report on WASA.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday Ram said, “Why proceed to restructure without knowing what structures are required by the blueprint of the integrated water management programme? Is it not a matter of putting the cart before the horse?”
He also asked why Government sending the report to a Joint Select Committee of Parliament when it also outlined the facts.
Ram said while there are some “legacy issues” which needed to be sorted out at WASA, the Opposition must ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the public and that they are transparent. He also accused the Government of having no clear plan for WASA, saying it was not the first time the People’s National Movement was attempting to “privatise or to make changes to WASA’s structure.”
But in an immediate response, the Public Utilities Ministry said the country expects the Opposition to work with the Government on this national crisis at WASA, noting it is plaguing every citizen, regardless of race, geography or class.
It said the citizens had been wronged and victimised over the years by those who saw the water sector “as their vehicle to pursue their own self-seeking agendas for profiteering and self-enrichment at the citizens’ expense while we, the citizens, continue to experience a precipitous decline in the availability of water in our taps.”
The ministry noted that the report disclosed why, despite the expense of over $28 billion in 10 years, citizens continue to suffer for a daily supply of water.
The ministry added that the report had exposed the “scandalous state of affairs in the sole state agency charged with the responsibility for ensuring that we have a reliable water supply but it also highlighted our determined resolve to do right and hold true to our oath of office in defence of all the citizens of this country.”