UPP opposes increasing water rates

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The United Progressive Party (UPP) is opposed to any moves by the current administration to increase rates for the water.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne made a presentation to Parliament and hinted that the rate of water, an essential service provided by the Antigua Public Utility Authority, could be increased in the near future.
“The government makes no money from water, it makes a loss in the region of around $10 million. Water is heavily subsidised and the truth is, it is a rationale for increasing water prices. When the distinguished Member for St Phillip North indicated that a year ago, it became a political issue,” Prime Minister Browne said.
He warned that if prices remain the same, water could continue to be wasted around the island such as at standpipes and even in households.
“If water rates remain extremely low, you’re going to have a lot of abuse. If it is priced not above the capacity of individuals but to the extent that if they abuse it that it costs them, that is perhaps the only mechanism to control the demand, to control that there is no abuse,” he said.
However, Senator Damani Tabor, the opposition party’s Public Relations Officer, told OBSERVER media yesterday that it was ridiculous to consider raising the rates if the government does not have the capacity to deliver water on a regular basis. He also said that the low-income households would suffer most.
“The UPP condemns the prime minister’s threat of raising the price of this essential service. It will do damage to the poor and vulnerable and to be frank, you can’t raise the price of a thing you cannot guarantee regular delivery of; that’s just not good business,” Senator Tabor said Friday on OBSERVER AM.
Though Prime Minister Browne stressed water conservation, Tabor said, “We are insulted at him wanting to tell you how long you should shower, soap up, turn off, soap up … give us regular delivery first.”
He suggested that APUA’s reverse osmosis management team should hold open forums and discussions about the cost attached to running the plants across the island.

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