Government says Linden not depressed and could afford new electricity rates
Unemployment in the bauxite community of Linden stands at a staggering 70%. Most residents depend heavily on remittances to get by. The bauxite industry has shed thousands of jobs over the past two decades and there has not been the emergence of any new industry in the community to create economic growth. In just two weeks, Lindeners will find themselves facing new rates for the supply of electricity. The power grid at Linden will be brought on to the national grid. That means Lindeners will find themselves paying increases on their electricity bills of as much as 300%. Community Leaders and the opposition parties have rejected government’s move to no longer subsidize the power supply in the town saying the administration cannot increase prices on Lindeners when it has not been taking economic activity to the town that could create employment.
The Government is not buying that argument and even with the town’s 70% unemployment rate, Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon said Linden is not a depressed community and residents could afford the new prices.
According to Dr Luncheon residents of Linden use up 3 times the amount of electricity than other communities across Guyana and as such they cannot claim depression.
But the chairman of region 10 and the parliamentary representatives for the region have been saying that the government is detaching itself from the realities of the town and what the increases will mean. They contend that the administration cannot turn its back to the historic situation when it comes to electricity supply in Linden.
Residents of the community have said they will not stand idly by and allow the increases. GPL has not fully arrived just yet and they complain that they are already facing an increase in power outages since the government’s announcement that the new prices will come into effect from July 1. That’s the date that community leaders say they will never agree with.