Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales has denied the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) will soon be sending home 135 managers as part of the authority’s transformation and restructuring plan.
Responding to allegations raised by Caroni Central MP Arnold Ram that the necks of 135 WASA managers were on a chopping block, Gonzales said, “The UNC continues to demonstrate that their party is a cesspool of naked lies, conspiracy theories and fabricated scandal.”
Gonzales said the UNC operative who brought himself “to peddle these theories should go check their mental health.”
Speaking at a UNC press conference yesterday, Ram said the PNM was on a mission to destroy all the State-run institutions “to have a scratch and dent sale” for their friends and financiers.”
He said, “It seems this is what they are planning to do with WASA. It is no secret that some of the PNM big financiers are into water. Their workers are speaking ....they are talking about something called Massy water.”
Ram called on Gonzales to say if there was any truth to the workers’ claims.
He said before the Government shut down Petrotrin’s refinery, they went on a rampage to attack the workers.
Now the PNM is doing the same thing by blaming and making a case against WASA workers for its current state of affairs.
“What they are not focusing on... which is the true reason for WASA ‘s failing is the corruption at the level of the WASA’s board which was appointed by the PNM to carry out its mandate.”
Ram drew reference to a September 12, 2021, Sunday Guardian article headlined “WASA managers under Probe- $7.7 million bad deal.”
The article surrounds the purchase of chemicals by two WASA managers some of which were of no use to the authority.
“But they want to put the blame on workers. This is just a tip of the iceberg. And don’t be fooled that this is some startling discovery that the new board will lead to some form of action.”
The Opposition MP said if the board was not distracted by other things there could have been due diligence.
“They are distracted because they are carrying out the bidding of the minister. We are told that the $7.7 million is geared toward the sending home of 135 managers within the next two months.”
Again, Ram called on Gonzales to tell the population the truth.
He said the Government was creating a narrative to destroy and sell off WASA to their friends.
Ram also questioned if the T&T Transparency Institute (TTTI) still has a voice.
When the UNC was in power, Ram said the TTTI which is a watchdog against corruption was very vocal.
Now he said the organisation has gone completely silent.
In the last six years, Ram said so many issues have been raised ranging from the fake oil scandal, the gutted procurement legislation, Camille Robinson-Regis’ $98,000 bank deposit, the unfolding National Gas Company debacle and Shamfa Cudjoe’s roaming phone bill but TTTI has not uttered a word.
“Have they acted with any sense of urgency, alacrity and enthusiasm in the way they did when Kamla Persad-Bissessar was prime minister? I intend to write the transparency headquarters in Germany in the coming days to bring this to their attention,” Ram said.