More benefits in store for Lindeners – Pres Ali reassures
– warns against instigators who want to destroy Govt’s trust
President Dr Irfaan Ali on Sunday reassured residents of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) that they will continue to enjoy all the benefits under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration.
His comments came on the heels of People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader, Aubrey Norton recently telling Lindeners during an outreach that the Government will increase electricity rates for the region and remove the electricity subsidy that they currently enjoy.
But President Ali on Sunday made it clear that there is no differentiation between the people of Linden from the people of any other region across the country.
“The people of Linden can understand and appreciate one thing, this is a Government that will embrace them, like every other Guyanese. We don’t have a different message for Linden, a different message for Berbice and a different message for Region Nine. We have one message for Guyana: all of us together, forward; prosperity for all,” the Head of State told reporters during a visit to the Parika Market.
According to Ali, the PPP/C believes in a message of “stronger together” and will do nothing during its time in office that would falter this.
“We will do everything under our leadership, under this Government’s leadership to make us stronger; stronger under ‘One Guyana’,” he asserted.
In the same breath, however, the Head of State warned residents of Region 10 to be aware of those who are trying to destroy their trust in Government and instigate bad feelings against each other.
He reminded that only recently several senior Government officials including Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo had travelled to Linden for extensive and elaborate consultations during which they not only assured that the benefits to the people there will continue but even extended those benefits.
The President further stated that it was the PNC-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition that shut down the call centre that was established by the previous PPP Government to create jobs for citizens in Linden – an area that is a stronghold for the PNC.
Dr Ali pointed out that his Administration, after taking office, supported the Private Sector in reopening the call centre, which has already opened up 125 job opportunities and this number is slated to grow to 250 by June.
“I don’t spend much of my time on negativity. I spend a lot of my time on building Guyana in a positive way… So Mr Norton, continue this path of propaganda, continue this path of mischief making; it will bring you nothing. I advise you embrace the concept of Guyana. Get a full understanding of reality. This is not Guyana of the past; this is Guyana that will move forward together,” the Guyanese leader stressed.
Only Saturday evening, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips in a broadcast statement dispelled what he described as “lies” peddled by Norton, who is slated to be sworn-in as an APNU/AFC Opposition Member of Parliament on Wednesday and will likely take up the role of Opposition Leader.
PM Phillips, who has direct responsibility for the energy sector, declared that there are no plans to increase the electricity rates being paid by the people of Linden.
He explained that what happened is that the Management Committee of the Linden Utility Co-operative Society Limited (LUCSL) was replaced by the Chief Co-operative Development Officer (CCDO).
The Co-operative Society Act, Chapter 88:01, empowers the CCDO to take over any cooperative or friendly societies, or credit union if it is found, by the CCDO, to be mismanaged or not transparent.
“What has happened in Linden is that the CCDO – the Chief Co-operative Development Officer – replaced the management committee for gross mismanagement; and that committee is replaced by an interim committee of management, and the members of that interim committee of management are residents of Linden of good standing in that society. They’re tasked, within six months, to bring some order and financial discipline to that Co-op Society – the LUCSL,” the Prime Minister noted.
According to PM Phillips, “I wish to repeat that at no time, is the Government interested in taking control of the Linden Utility Co-ops Society Limited; at no time will the Government direct the affairs of the Linden Utility Co-ops Society Limited, and at no time did the Government mention or pass any instructions to increase the electricity rates paid by the people of Linden.”
The new members of the interim management committee are: Chairwoman Renee Mac Donald, Winston Caesar, Hilton Lyle, Wanda Richmond, Courtney Handy, Leon Greaves and Latoya Walks.
The electricity costs for residents in that region are significantly subsidised by the Government.
Reports in 2014 indicate that Lindeners pay $5 per kWh while the rest of Guyana pays $64 per kWh.
In fact, in that very year, $3.2 billion was budgeted to maintain the subsidy in Linden and Kwakwani so that 10,500 electricity customers in the region could continue to benefit from the rates that are highly subsidised.