CARONI Central MP Arnold Ram asked whether Government is seeking to usurp the role of the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) with respect to possible changes in water and electricity rates.
Ram posed this question in his maiden budget contribution in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert mentioned tariff reviews for the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and the TT Electricity Commission (T&TEC) in his budget presentation on October 5.
But Ram said Government cannot instruct the RIC to make any changes to water or electricity rates.
He said the RIC does this on its own after assessing requests by WASA or T&TEC for changes to their respective rates. Ram stressed that due process must be followed before electricity or water rates are increased.
"We (the Opposition) will do what is necessary to ensure there is no interference in the operation of the RIC."
After claiming that WASA was mismanaged under the PNM, Ram recalled that WASA loses half of its daily water supply, through leaking pipes. He estimated that it produces 200 million gallons of water per day.
He also expressed disappointment that T&TEC continues to face the challenge of frequent power outages. Ram said one such outage happened while he was doing an online pre-budget consultation.
After praising Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the People's Partnership government's laptop initiative, Ram regretted that students today could not receive brand-new devices to use while they are at home during the covid19 pandemic.
He claimed the PNM's only strategy to govern TT was "solve none of the problems, blame Kamla and blame covid."
Ram also alleged the PNM created problems and then pretended to be the population's saviour when it solved those same problems.