WATER DEBTORS MORE FORTUNATE THAN ELECTRICITY DEBTORS
The Anguilla House of Assembly has approved a motion authorising the Government to write-off the debt owed by a number of customers to the Water Corporation. The debt amounts to over four million EC dollars, according to Mr Evan Gumbs, Minister of Infrastructure.
The motion was moved by Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Hubert Hughes, at the meeting of the House on Monday, April 28. The concluding portion of the motion states as follows:
“Be it resolved that this House, pursuant to Section 17 of the said Act [the Financial Administration and Audit Act R.S.A. c. F27] hereby authorises the Honourable Minister of Finance to write-off, on behalf of the Government of Anguilla, the outstanding debt owed by customers of the Water Corporation of Anguilla who have been inactive prior to 1st January 2009 and who have continued inactive since that time.”
The motion explained that both the Governor and the Minister of Finance had authorised the write-off of the debt.
The action was welcomed by all members of the House. Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Evans Rogers, and Opposition Member, Edison Baird, pointed to the serious shortage of water on the island and called for the matter to be urgently addressed. They regretted that the desalination plant had been dismantled and shipped overseas, thus largely contributing to the water situation.
It was held that the Government could have used funds, otherwise spent, to pay the debt owed to the water supplier by the corporation, thereby avoiding the closure and removal of the plant.
Observers have commented that now that the Government has moved to write-off the debt of inactive customers of the Water Corporation, some consideration should be given to those debtors who, unable to pay for electricity, have had their service disconnected.
Several hundred persons are today without electricity, like the dark days experienced during the time when Anguilla was administered by the Central Government in St Kitts. It was the lack of such an important amenity that was one of the causes of the 1967 Anguilla Revolution.