Donald Ramotar wants Lindeners and African Guyanese to punish
A controversial hike of electricity rates for Lindeners is to be implemented from July 1, government announced yesterday.
According to Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, during his weekly press briefing, a $1B reduction in the subsidy by the opposition Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) during the recent passage of the 2012 National Budget, necessitated the increase.
Government had budgeted almost $3B for Lindener as an electricity subsidy. The opposition however had argued during the budget debate earlier this year that GPL should move to cut waste and reduced the subsidy by $1B.
Luncheon said that government is working on measures that will outline how the tariffs would be structured for residents and businesses in Linden.
Earlier this year, Luncheon had claimed that despite the tariffs increase, Lindeners will still be paying half of what the rest of the country is doling out.
The announcement of the hike in April and slashing of the subsidy has been met with protests by especially Lindeners.
Luncheon had said that it is a fact that residential usage in Linden is double compared to what is being used in the city and other parts of Guyana. Business use of electricity there also was high – at one and half times higher than elsewhere.
Since the closure of the bauxite plants in Linden back in the ‘80s, Government had introduced the electricity subsidies to the area as a means to alleviate the hardships of many who have been laid off.
A Chinese company, Bosai, has since taken over some aspects of the bauxite industry there while RUSAL, a Russian owned bauxite company, has taken over the operations at Aroaima and Kwakwani.
There have been criticisms of the government’s move to reduce the subsidy which in effect forced the current electricity rates there to be hiked.
But Government says that there have been plans in the making for a while to bring the rates on levels acceptable to the rest of the country.
Opposition parties have accused Government of a revenge act by slashing the subsidy following their massive losses in Linden, a traditional support base of the People’s National Congress, which forms a major part of A Partnership for National Unity, one of the two opposition parties in Parliament.