Don’t rush to privatise


I start this letter with an apology to two comrades I truly respect- comrades Stephon and Sterlling. The latter sent me a letter, via WhatsApp, since October 10, and the former told me about the same letter since the day before it was sent to me.

Truth be told, I did not read it until last week, which is the same time I heard, via radio, someone boasting that privatisation is the way.

The letter has an ‘S Mahabir’ at the end, which leads me to believe he or she is the author. The letter made for nice and informative reading until the very end. The letter called for ‘an independent audit into the affairs of T&TEC’. The call was inspired by S Mahabir’s belief that electricity rates would be raised and that this is unfair to Trinidad and Tobago.

S Mahabir goes on to list that the rates should not be raised because ‘jobs for the boys, mismanagement, low productivity, over-staffing…’, among other reasons, are why T&TEC is not optimally run. He/she believes the raising of the rates has to do with customers paying the price for the wastefulness of the commission.

I have no problem with the public calling T&TEC to account, or calling on the Government to intervene. Despite popular belief, T&TEC belongs to us, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and, as such, should we see things going wrong, we should sound an alarm.

However, my reading turned sour at the very end of the letter, where S Mahabir stated the ‘solution to these burdensome State companies’ is privatisation.

One thing I’ve noticed with all countries during this pandemic, as we all tussle to make sure we outlast Covid, is the wake-up call to food security; also the ability to secure and stabilise one’s economy. How come we’re talking the opposite? Truth be told, privatisation talks are rampant right now due to the selling of our gas stations to businessmen, with no one expecting anything good to come out of this deal for the working class.

Privatisation talks are also circulating concerning the Port of Port of Spain.

To S Mahabir and like-minded individuals, I say let’s hold those in authority accountable and force their hand to do right.

Does anyone remember CLICO? The Government intervened, right? Let’s not sell our birthrights, please. T&TEC, WASA, TSTT and the Port of Spain port belong to us.

If this is the road we, the people, intend to take, then let’s cancel August 31 as a holiday.

Hugh Springer