Opposition candidate continuing to accuse government of stealing its ideas

It was in the early hours of Independence Day, Friday 19th September, 2014, while addressing the nation at the annual military parade, that the country’s Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, declared to over 4,000 persons in the Warner Park Stadium, “that all arrears of electricity by households that relate to the period prior to the establishment of SKELEC would be written off and would therefore not be collected.”

However the opposition is crying foul, accusing the Douglas Administration of stealing its idea which they said was announced almost two years ago when the decision was taken by CCM PAM and PLP to join forces to contest the upcoming election.

The opposition has accused the government of Plagiarism and of being bankrupt of its own ideas.

Opposition Spokesman and candidate for East Basseterre, Ian Liburd, criticized the Prime Minister, saying the ruling party “is behind in the race and desperately trying to keep his beleaguered government in office. So desperate is Denzil Douglas that he is promising all sorts of things and dishing out all sorts of goodies and now he has been caught red handed once again stealing the blue print of Team Unity’s Prosperity Agenda.”

Liburd, said “We must expose Dr. Douglas for what he is, nothing else but a leader whose better days have long gone and who is completely void of new enlightened ideas and has to resort to stealing the enlightened ideas of Team Unity’s Prosperity Agenda including their plan to provide relief from the high electricity bills that he has hoisted on the backs of poor people in St Kitts, in concert with the IMF.”

Douglas indicated however that “I know that many of our low income families have struggled with huge electricity bills as we were forced to remove the subsidy to energy consumption under the strain of high debt and fiscal balance. In cognizance of this problem, we encouraged SKELEC, immediately after it was formed, to give extended periods for people to pay the arrears even as they kept current in respect of current consumption. Many have struggled but have fallen behind and have suffered the embarrassment of having their electricity supply disconnected. 

He said he will ask SKELEC to adjust the bills of the relevant consumers appropriately, and this is to have immediate effect.

But Liburd is reminding that Team Unity and he as Spokesman for Utilities had previously disclosed that “as part of Team UNITY’s Prosperity Agenda all electricity arrears owed to the government as at August 2011 will be forgiven.”

In a media release, Liburd was reported have said at a meeting in Central Basseterre that “Team UNITY will restore electricity to ALL customers upon taking office. No more will we hear of bottle lamps in this the 21st century. I make this commitment to you, all delinquent customers owing government before August 2011 will be forgiven. ALL!!….We will write off that debt and give you a FRESH START “

This however did not stop the Prime Minister from taking the initiative and using the grand occasion of the military parade to make the announcement.

Liburd is also claiming that the motive behind Douglas’ announcement has nothing to do with helping poor people, but rather to assist Labour Party supporters who owe huge sums for electricity.

He said the government “…is too focused on self-aggrandizement to take the people’s concern on board. We gather that several high officials on Douglas campaign owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in electricity bills and they demanded that their debt be written off. Whenever Douglas gives in one hand, he takes back in the other. In the run up to the 2004 elections he announced a $500 rebate on electricity. After election he took it back by charging 85 percent increase in electricity. Douglas is again up to his gimmick and tricks. Voters must end the charade and vote the Douglas cabal out.”

The opposition release also quoted Liburd as saying that that as part of Team UNITY’s agenda, SKELEC consumers who have been diligent in keeping their monthly bills up to date will benefit from a rewards programme. This will reward consumers who have diligently and consistently kept their bills up to date and paid on time, added the statement.


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