From left: Opposition legislator and former CWSA manager Daniel Cumming, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and CWSA manager Garth Saunders (montage photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition lawmaker Daniel Cummings says Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves used Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) manager Garth Saunders to detail the increase in water and solid waste management rates on Tuesday

Cummings, a former manager of the CWSA, noted that Gonsalves announced by did not detail the rate increases in his Budget Speech on Jan. 9.

“Look at the disrespect the Prime Minister has for this country. He comes to the Parliament and says there is going to be an increase in water rate. His cabinet had long agreed to it. But he doesn’t even have the boldface to tell us in Parliament how much is the increase. He has to leave it to the CEO of the Water Authority to lay the hard facts on us,’ Cummings said.

Saunders said in a media briefing on Tuesday that CWSA consumers will next month begin paying at least EC$5 more for the company’s services.

“He (Gonsalves) is too good to lay the bad news. Somebody else has to do his dirty work for him,” Cummings said at a media briefing on Wednesday.

“He doesn’t have the respect of the Parliament and the people to come like a man and say it is a 15 and 20 per cent increase at a time like now…. He wants somebody else to do his dirty work for him,” Cummings said.

Saunders said that the CWSA, which last increased it rates in 2007, has seen a decline in revenue even as it has invested EC$10 million of its own money in capital projects.

He said that the increase were necessary to maintain the financial health of the company and said he was not expecting the public to react negatively to them.

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