Trinidad and Tobago
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WASA rejects UNC retrenchment claims


File photo: Water and Sewage Authrity (WASA) Trincity Regional Centre, Trincity. Photo by Roger Jacob

THE Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) has rejected claims by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Opposition Senator Wade Mark that it plans to retrench 2,500 workers as part of its restructuring.

Persad-Bissessar made this claim in her contribution to the budget debate in the House of Representatives on September 30. Mark repeated it at a news conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office on Sunday.

Both Persad-Bissessar and Mark claimed WASA had submitted a draft business plan to the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC).

In a statement, WASA said, “To date, WASA has not submitted a draft or final business plan to the RIC.”

WASA said it “is desirous of a rate increase and has been preparing the required documents for submission to the RIC.”

The documents the RIC requires as part of this process include credible recurrent and capital investment plans, expenditure forecasts, and a business plan.

After saying changes to the authority will affect TT positively, WASA said these changes will “also change the circumstances of a yet-to-be-determined number of the current employees.”

But, referring to the alleged business plan being used by the UNC and other people to claim workers will be retrenched, the authority said: “WASA has not been provided with a copy of the document purporting to be the DRAFT Business Plan and is therefore unable to verify the content thereof.”

The authority added, “In any event, the intended draft proposal has been considerably modified since the date of that version, which therefore does not represent significant and critical elements of WASA’s intended direction.”

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If the document is a version of its draft business plan being prepared for submission to the RIC, WASA said it was unfortunate that one of its internal documents was disseminated in the manner that it has been,

“Such dissemination would constitute a serious breach of confidentiality and those responsible will be identified and subjected to the appropriate disciplinary action.”

WASA said there was no input from the Publit Utilities Ministry or any government official in the preparation of its documents for submission to the RIC for a rate review,

The authority said once its draft business plan is complete, it will seek agreement from the Government and the RIC on the approach it believes is necessary to achieve the aims set out in the plan.

“Until such buy-in is received, the opinions and proposals contained in the draft business plan remain the views of WASA and no other parties.”

Reiterating that the report of the Cabinet sub-committee on WASA showed it was overstaffed by 2,000 employees, the authority said, “There have been several announcements by government officials since then, outlining the need for the transformation of the authority and the several initiatives being undertaken pursuant to this goal – including a rate review.”