Lindeners gear for five-day shutdown
… Electricity tariff hike
Scores of Lindeners yesterday gathered at the Old Palm Tree Cinema at Wismar, Linden, for a public meeting aimed at setting the stage for a protest which will take place today from the Christianburg Community Center to the Toucan Call Center at Kara Kara. The community has vowed to essentially shut down for five days with today’s protest being the commencement of that period. This is yet another demonstration by the Lindeners that they are in no way prepared to pay this increase in electricity tariff.
Organisers have indicated that the shutdown will involve all businesses, including the privately-owned boats, minibuses and taxis.
Region 10 Chairman Sharma Solomon was among those addressing the gathering yesterday.
Speaking with Kaieteur News last evening Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon said that the meeting yesterday saw scores of community members who expressed their utter frustration with the current hike in the electricity tariffs.
“We expect that the entire Linden will come out to this protest to further demonstrate their dissatisfaction towards this issue,” Kissoon stated emphatically. She added that Lindeners are of the view that the government did not take into account the hundreds of poor families that the town has before they decided to put the hike on the electricity tariff.
“This is a spiteful move by Government, and we’re going to resist. This is not a PPP, PNC, or APNU issue, this is an economic issue, and any increase the people can’t afford.”
The hike took effect from July 1.
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 had been laid off. Decades later, not much has changed as it relates to the availability of jobs in Linden, according to residents.
The majority of persons in Linden are adamant that any increase in electricity tariffs would only serve to further ‘strangle’ the already hard-pressed community.
Recently, the government decided to move for an electricity hike in the mining town and since then Lindeners have signaled that they are not prepared financially for a raise in electricity rates in the region.
The new tariff was announced by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh during the Budget presentation.
On March 30, the Finance Minister noted that electricity tariffs were last adjusted in 2007, when light and heavy fuel oils were procured at US$71 and US$109 per barrel respectively. The prices have since increased by 61 percent and 38 percent to US$114 and US150 per barrel respectively. GPL funded the escalated costs without any tariff adjustments.
Dr. Luncheon during one of his weekly press briefings in April explained that the increase is justified since the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) reported a shortfall of $11B and despite the request by the Finance Minister in his budget presentation for a $6 Billion transfer from Government, the company still has a $5B shortfall.