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|Nation’s resources must be distributed equitably|
|Friday, 03 August 2012 20:38|
There is tremendous angst in the general Guyanese population over the
acquiescence of government over the Lindeners’ demands for a return to the status quo over the electricity rates.
There are many villages in rural areas that have many pressing needs in various areas that they consider of vital importance, where in some instances roads are impassable and youths have no recreational facilities and so get into bad practices; as well as a security dilemma that causes sleepless nights as people have to stay awake in turns, fearful of the predatory armed bandits rampaging all over the country, with no-one knowing when again they will strike, or who will be their next victim.
Yet, Lindeners whose roads are paved, drainage and irrigation concerns addressed to the optimum, whose needs the government has been continually trying to meet in various ways and forms since 1992, subsidising practically everything in that community, especially with the provision of free electricity that provides them with no motivation to conserve, resulting in that tiny community consuming in excess of three times the amount of electricity used by the entire rest of the country, can destroy all the facilities, private and public property, rob, assault and victimise law-abiding citizens and attack ranks of the police force; and at the end be rewarded with even more goodies.
Law-abiding citizens in the rest of the country whose communities need urgent attention from the authorities are extremely angry at this turn of events. They think it very unfair that Lindeners should enjoy free electricity at the expense of other taxpayers; and of course GPL has to make up their shortfall in the electricity theft that they are not addressing and again it is the ordinary citizen who has to pay excessive rates to make up that shortfall.
Even while driving in the city, highly visible are shacks with illicit connections, with the company seemingly complicit with lack of action, or minimal actions taken against these thieves.
After years of a large chunk of the national budget going to subsidise free electricity for Lindeners, which started when that community was really depressed, and much infusion of resources in other ways to upgrade the lives and living conditions of the residents of that town, the government felt it was time to regularise the electricity rates and gradually bring it in line with those being paid throughout the rest of the country.
The rates proposed was no real increase up to a usage of 50 kilowatts; and many persons in the rest of the country use less than that on a monthly basis. Any usage additional to that would incur a rate of $50 per kilowatt, which is still much less that the rate paid by the average consumer. This, as a start was basically a mechanism to encourage conservation, because if there was no wastage then their bill would still have been negligible; but their protest was to ensure that there are no limitations placed on their consumption, which is unsustainable for a country such as Guyana. No country in the world, not even the most developed countries, provides free electricity to its citizens, because there are tremendous cost factors that no economy can absorb and sustain.
During the budget debate the government had acceded to Granger’s menu of measures as conditions to which he would support the new electricity tariff structure for Linden, so essentially the PNCR/APNU configuration recognised the need for this gradual weaning away from a subsidised energy sector in Linden.
Immediately, piqued at being sidelined by the APNU in these talks,the AFC’s Khemraj Ramjattan and Moses Nagamootoo, and mainly because of political adventurism, opportunism and expediency, ran like rabid dogs to the mining community and began agitating the anger of the Lindeners by misrepresenting the terms of the new tariff arrangement and telling Lindeners that the PNC and Granger were selling them out.
To protect the turf of the PNCR,Granger immediately reneged on the agreement with government and rushed down to the community to compete with the AFC in trying to convince the Lindeners that the PNCR had not abandoned them, and because they could not stem the tide of the misinformation that the AFC had fed the community about the proposed tariff restructuring, they went along with the AFC’s call for that community to start a protest, which in any case, fit in with the PNCR’s traditional agenda of destabilization and destruction to impede the PPP/C administration’s governance of the country. The rest is history.
What happened in Linden is to be blamed squarely on the AFC and PNCR/APNU leadership, which displayed absolutely no sense of responsibility nor remorse over what they had foreknowledge would occur subsequent to their inflammatory rhetoric as they, as one AFC leader put it, continued to “rile up” the members of that community.
The shooting incident that followed is highly suspect, given the PNC’s history of strategising violence in this country, with destroyed lives of supporters being considered by all opposition leaders as “collateral damage”.
The government’s concession to once again restore free and unlimited use of electricity to Linden, along with other goodies, as a reward for their behaviour, which destroyed private and public property, caused suffering and loss to hinterland communities and the business community, drove the national economy into a downward spiral, and great trauma to Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese supporters of the PPP/C who live in that community is generating much disillusion and anger in citizens all across the country, who perceive this latest development as inequitable deployment of national resources.
The greatest challenge of government is to persuade the rest of the country that their real needs are going to be addressed in just such a responsive manner as that accorded Lindeners.
|Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 20:39|
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