Clint Chan Tack
MAYARO MP Rushton Paray criticizes the decision of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to refer its debtors to a debt collection agency.
In a statement on Thursday, Paray referenced a newspaper article that WASA had engaged the services of Credit Chex. He described the decision as ruthless.
Paray claimed that this could lead to the arbitrary interruption of the water supply to paying customers. He didn’t explain how.
“It would also lead to customers who have not been supplied for months having to pay for a non-existent service instead of being provided with the valuable product.”
Paray said that although WASA has a serious cash flow problem, “debt collection must be guided by a watertight list of receivables and by the competence and professionalism of management”.
He added that WASA should focus on repairing its books, improving its distribution system and repairing damaged water pipes and roads.
In response, Public Services Minister Marvin Gonzales said, “The vast majority of our citizens are educated and knowledgeable, and they will ignore the populist stunt played by my dear friend Mayaro.”
He rejected Paray’s allegation of WASA’s arbitrary cutoff of water supply to paying customers.
“I don’t understand. I don’t see how paying customers will be unduly concerned about the authority’s debt collection efforts.”
Gonzales said while he respects Paray as an individual, there is a difference in the views of an opposition and a government on the issues.
“The advantage of being in the opposition is that it is easy to take populist positions to give the impression of caring about the citizens.
“In government, decisions must be made in the interests of all citizens and sometimes that may mean taking actions that may offend a section of the population.”
Referring to Paray’s background in the private sector, Gonzales said, “As a shrewd businessman, MP Paray is well aware that there is a direct correlation between cash flow and the ability to provide a service, in particular an essential water supply service”.
He said he was sure that Paray is aware that if WASA improves its financial performance, “this will translate into improved levels of service to customers.”
That, he said, also includes Paray voters.
“If he (Paray) really believes in his statement, is he willing to drop his calls and pleas for better service as well, especially when Mayaro is about to benefit from a major investment to improve the supply citizens there?”