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posted 16 Dec 2015, 06:45 by Gerry Kangalee
On Monday 14th December, 2015, two significant events happened at T&TEC. One was the reinstatement of Preston Nixon and Roger Rampersad after the industrial court ruled that the Commission was "harsh and oppressive" in its method of discipline of the comrades in the death of Comrade Richie Rivers (may his soul finally rest in eternal peace). The other was the installation of the T&TEC Board of Directors (which we in the Arima Branch understandably did not celebrate with any aplomb).

As I read the Express on Tuesday 15th December, 2015, in which the Minister of Public Utilities hinted at a possible rate increase for water and electricity, I could hear "them" coming. Who is/are the "them"? The business community is "them" I am speaking of.

What businesspeople do when issues like these come up, is that they become advocates for the average citizen all of a sudden. Just like that they become concerned with the challenges that rate increases place upon the "average Joe".

Moreso, in this reportedly recessionary time, they will claim that these rate increases may amount to job losses. But when they increase THEIR prices, it is justified as the cost of doing business; the standard Trinbago double standard.

What amazes me is that the people who it affects the least, the common citizen, parrot this rhetoric without thinking about the real pros and cons. For instance, businesses are the first to defend the travelling public when the removal of the subsidy on gasoline and diesel fuel is being discussed.

But who really pays more if this is to occur? The ordinary private citizen doesn't own a fleet of vehicles, yachts, or the like. We, the men on the street, will grouse about it, talk some "rum shop" protest talk and cope. On the other hand, businesses will threaten with price hikes, wage freezes, salary cuts and the ever popular muscle move called "downsizing".

Businesspeople have us by the short pubic hairs so we go wherever they lead. They are the financiers of political parties in power, so they wield the real power in this system where we have none except where we amass in numbers and clamour for justice. When we do that righteously, conscientiously and consistently we get our just due.

I am not in favour of a rate increase in water or power because it gives us the opportunity to negotiate a better wage package. I am not in favour of a wage increase because the Government wants to raise revenue on the backs of the ordinary man. I am in favour of a rate increase where it means longevity for the company to expand and provide better service to the nation. That is my selfish desire.