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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo by Lance Neverson/Facebook)
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The government has asked the state-owned suppliers of water and electricity to consider a moratorium on disconnections — as they did last year — to help their customers struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have asked VINLEC and CWSA (Central Water and Sewerage Authority) to reinstitute a moratorium programme, including discounts too,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on WE FM on Sunday.

“Last week, the people at CWSA responded. VINLEC should have responded to me by Friday but I haven’t seen that document. If Thornley is hearing me, he would know that I am awaiting it,” he said of the electricity provider and its chief executive.

“And if he has, in fact, sent it, he could always send a message to me saying he has sent it. But I haven’t seen it yet. But this week you are going to get some announcements on those.”

The prime minister said that because schools are closed, the government has to assist the vendors who trade outside schools.

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“[Minister of Finance] Camillo [Gonsalves] has insisted, and quite rightly so, that we put back the vendors at the schools [on the list of persons to receive COVD-19 unemployment benefit].

“And there are a few hundred of them at the various schools, because they are not making any money. We may have to do something again for …  the people who are running the preschools,” the prime minister said.

He noted that the government has decided to give to omnibus each operator, for two months, a monthly subsidy of EC$500 or EC$600, depending on the size of the vehicle.

The prime minister’s comments came as he said that the number of persons taking the COVID-19 vaccine in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was “picking up” but was not yet “as many as I would like to see because the sooner we all get vaccinated, or at least most of us, the better”.

Gonsalves said that the sooner people are vaccinated, the sooner “we can get back to normalcy.

“And as we see Britain and the United States, their programme is unfolding pretty OK and we see in some other European countries, and even Canada, which has been a little slow off the mark — I have been advised — that we may have people travelling again.

“There is a pent up demand, according to the people in the marketplace for tourism and we can get back to economic activity.

“We take our jabs, we get our jobs returning because at the moment things are very difficult. I am talking about on the economic front. It is very challenging.

“We had said in the Budget, and we are rolling out projects for people getting jobs and we are seeing in some of the public sector programmes that are happening and we are strengthening the social safety net.” 

4 replies on “Gov’t asks CWSA, VINLEC to suspend disconnections”

  1. We know that if he wants to he could amend (he owns the senate and the judiciary) the law to make them comply but here he is grandstanding in his humble suit like a bad actor. We know that in SVG anything he decides goes; these are government assets. I wonder how many young Vincentians aspire to be like you? (I don’t hate you), but I am convinced that you, being a very flawed individual and your policies are not helpful to the economy of ordinary Vincentians. What do we [SVG] produce? We are selling a tourism product that’s far from being properly developed; A woefully lacking service sector even though the country has the resources to be at least 95% self-sustaining if there was better management.

  2. Although it is a good thing that the PM has not (yet) closed the entire economy as a certain IDIOT did in California did, causing massive economic devastation to that state. It is not fair to ask businesses, van drivers or other agencies to lose vast sums of money based on poorly-thought-out economic measures imposed by the government.
    The government will tell you that they too are taking-in less revenue. The difference is that they will just raise taxes afterwards, as they are now in SVG with the Customs tax, and in the long-term…THE GOVERNMENT WILL ACTUALLY BE EVEN WEALTHIER!
    All these jurisdictions, all over the world, imposing measures to make the people poorer will not just make people more dependent on government afterwards, but will also set-off a spiral that perpetuates more taxes, more poverty and naive people begging more and more for socialism. It is working out just the way some of the Global Elites want. Without being force vaccinated, you will not even be able to run to “more free” or reasonable jurisdictions (unless you are a damn-good swimmer).

  3. Agustas Carr says:

    Why do citizens treat the Government like an Automatic Tellar Machine (ATM)? Everyone who has a job have to learn to save a percentage of their income. Every business have to do likewise. Some persons squander all their income lavishly then expect the Government to bail them out.

    When the mini bus drivers protest, the Government should not have given them any subsidy. The womanizing is now taking its effect in their pockets. Squander your money then cry foul on the Government. The Government only priority now is the young and vulnerable, sick and elderly.

    The unemployed should be paid by National Insurance. That’s why you pay into the scheme. It is a real scheme, the employees benefit from working in lavish comfort while the contributor finds it hard to get pay his dues. Their needs to be more private pension service in these Caribbean Islands. Businesses and minibus owners should take out insurance against times of crisis.

    Save 10% of your income and give 5% to needy and God will bless you. You would never be in need.

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