Residents of the mining town of linden have reacted angrily to the announcement that their electricity rates will be drastically increased to bring them on par with the rest of the country.
They are convinced that the decision was taken to punish them for their rejection of the ruling PPP/C at last year’s general and regional elections.
“I think the Government is using this budget to increase electricity In Linden to really sock it to us because we didn’t vote for them, because an increase that will bring us on par with other areas in Guyana would be totally unfair to us. This is a mining town, and as such we are entitled to certain concessions. Look at all the things we suffer here with the dust. Who is to compensate us for all these years of sufferation,” one Lindener observed.
She lamented the medical bills that residents there have to pay, pointing to the fact that Lindeners suffer constantly from colds and other respiratory conditions.
“Any subsidy that the Government grants us whether for electricity or any other thing, we more than deserve it”, the woman declared.
Another woman who is in the catering business told this newspaper that any increase in electricity will force her to increase prices for her services.
“Right now is an electric stove I using, because it is cheaper than the gas, that is the only way I could keep my prices down. Now when they increase electricity, it means I would have to charge people more and the thing is, they already crying out with the current prices, so what you think gon happen when I increase prices.”
She argued that the people of Linden are already suffering from lack of jobs and other economic opportunities and now that the Government has heaped an additional “burden on us, what will become of us?”
“I think we going backwards instead of forward, because we ain’t getting more money, the VAT remains the same and soon we got to pay increased electricity rates. I think they want to kill us. It ain’t fair.”
Chairman of Region 10 Sharma Solomon said the budget has done nothing for Linden or Region 10.
“Over the past decade, there has been no significant economic growth in this Region and when one considers what the budget offers, it’s an embarrassment. It doesn’t cater for single mothers or poor people. This is like strangulation for poor people. And then to remove the subsidy for electricity is saying that you’re out to chastise us. It says you’re out to chastise the community,” Solomon said.
“The Texas/Ohio fiasco was a bad deal, which cost us the steam power plant, which produced electricity at a far cheaper rate. But it was scrapped and sold as scrap metal. Now there is talk that it is up and running in some other part of the country. It could have been producing cheap electricity for us, because it ran on diesel. Now I’m saying that if the Government can subsidize entities that find themselves in difficult financial straits then they can subsidize us, because there has been no real economic growth here for the past decade,” the Regional Chairman declared.
He said that the 2012 budget will do absolutely nothing for Region 10, except to possibly further strangle the poor people.
Solomon described the $600 increase for pensioners as a “total insult”.
The 1000 plus jobs promised by President Ramotar during the last elections campaign remains an illusion, and Lindeners are becoming increasingly frustrated with a Government many feel has no consideration for the people.
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