Gonzales instructed to meet Monday with NATUC and JTUM concerning WASA

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Gonzales instructed to meet Monday with NATUC and JTUM concerning WASA

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales has been instructed to meet with the National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) and the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM) on Monday to get their input in solving the ongoing issues at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).

The directive was issued by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as he addressed a community meeting at the San Juan Laventille Secondary School on Saturday.

Rowley urged Gonzales to sit with the unions and “receive from them, practical solutions on how to deal with the WASA problem, because there is a WASA problem.”

He gave Gonzales a six-week deadline to report back to the Cabinet on the way forward.

Rowley told him: “You explain to them what is happening at WASA (because) all of us have to drink water, and get from them their input into solving the WASA problem.

The PM also gave Gonzales permission to share the restructuring plan for WASA with the labour leaders.

He admitted that Trinidad was heavily dependent on desalinated water and read from a Cabinet Note dated January 25th, which approved “a bank to keep on providing US $60 million to pay for desalinated water for a little period.”

“This is what has been going on and the Government is never in a position to pay that money for WASA, so the Government goes to a bank and borrows it.”

Rowley said this had left taxpayers running a debt of US $324 million, “a growing debt” which T&T was committed to paying until 2034.