Fri 30th Nov 2007

VINLEC is not a good corporate citizen

The socially conscious SVG Green Party has on a number of occasions called for the VINLEC fuel surcharge to be abolished - it is passed its 'use by date'. The surcharge was established to help VINLEC as an infant company in 1973. Most infants walk by the age of 2 and at 24 years of age, VINLEC should be able to stand on its own two feet and compete in an open market. The fact that it cannot shows that there is something horrendously wrong with VINLEC, its management and the ULP regime.

SVG Green Party questioned the credibility of the surcharge in September 2007 and whether Vincentians were being ripped off. Vincentians suffer one of the highest prices of electricity in the region and the surcharge is unfair on Vincentians. Some of our electricity is water-powered and the water is free from the sky. So why are Vincentians being charged so much for electricity? It is humiliating the way the ULP regime is treating Vincentians.

In the Petro-Caribe agreement VINLEC was given a 2 year grace period where it could buy fuel and not pay for it. So has there been a 2 year period in which VINLEC was charging the fuel surcharge, but not actually paying out for the fuel? If so, the surcharge collected in that period should be given back to VINLEC customers, and an apology and a repayment would be an appropriate Christmas present from VINLEC to its customers.

The surcharge only fuels inefficiency and this is well illustrated by the incompetent ULP regime. They have not been able to properly manage VINLEC and so we continue to be overcharged for electricity. It is clear what needs to be done to VINLEC, but the ULP regime is in the dark, just like poor families at night who cannot afford the high price of electricity. Poor families need light and the ULP regime needs to see the light - the VINLEC monopoly and surcharge must go!

We need to look to the future as a country and modernise. A modern SVG cannot contain VINLEC in its current form. VINLEC stifles the creation of new businesses and the credibility of the surcharge cannot be part of the foundation on which to build a better SVG. Vincentians must decide whether we as a nation want to move forward. If we do then changes are needed - one with VINLEC and one of government. The ULP regime has been sub-standard in its duty.

An SVG Green Party government will abolish the VINLEC monopoly and the VINLEC surcharge. It is bad for business, bad for the economy and it punishes poor households. It robs poorer families of a significant part of their income and hinders them from feeding their children and enhancing their children's education. A Green government will seek to empower households and businesses so that they have more control over their future. What an SVG Green Party government can offer the public that this government has not is complete honesty and respect.

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