Opposition MP Vandana Mohit has slammed the government for seeking to implement rate hikes and property tax all at once.
Speaking in the Parliament on Friday, she said the government should postpone impending utility rate hikes until citizens’ economic plight is addressed and reduce fuel prices to pre-Budget prices.
While moving a Private Motion on Strategies to reduce price increases of essential goods and services, Mohit called on Government to take necessary urgent action to immediately remedy the negative effects on those living below the poverty line.
Mohit said: “The decision to file this motion was driven by extreme suffering, frustration, and hopelessness.”
“At this given moment, can anyone of us here honestly believe we are happy in this country when single mothers cannot purchase baby formula because of skyrocketing prices?
“Most children are attending school without proper nutritional support or school supplies; when pensioners cannot partake of a nutritionally sound meal, when families are constantly facing threats of eviction due to their inability to meet rent payments, when the old and infirm cannot purchase much needed medical supplies nor consume requisite meals,” she added.
Mohit said: “Residents, households and families are already overburdened with increased cost of living, therefore, electricity rate increase will only bring greater hardship to an already crippled society.”
Mohit said Government measures had left many citizens in a bind but was still seeking to implement property tax from those who had worked hard to build their homes.
“This Government, which didn’t help at all, is now demanding of your property tax – the audacity of the Government demanding income from your asset!” she said.
“Property tax would only serve to further destabilise the economy and place additional increases in the cost of living on already depressed circumstances.
“This Government want you to be exposed to elements, rain must wet yuh or sun must bun yuh! Then they will sit back and advise you to ride a bicycle, use a coal pot and eat macaroni pie less often. This regime even attacks what’s considered a staple in our Sunday lunch!”
Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales, in response to Mohit, said MPs know of the pain and suffering of their constituents, but Government has a record of protecting people and has a $5 billion social safety net.