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Dec 11, 2009

Protestors denounce water rate increase

Story PictureWhile the politicians had a go at each inside the House, outside temperatures were flaring as a group of protesters continued a protest against the increase in water rates. Two weeks ago, residents of San Pedro took to the streets to protest the decision of the Public Utilities Commission to approve a water rate increase of ten point six percent. At Isla Bonita, residents are already paying much higher rates. Hundreds signed up a petition and today they took their plight to the capital.

William Anderson, Protestor
“Six months ago or a year ago when they first started developing plans for the increases and the effect it would take, what revenues it would bring in, they didn’t consider anyone from San Pedro or the community—what the impact would be since they are already paying three times more than everyone else. So the people are dealing with an accountability issue, the integrity issue and now they are feeling sort of devalued. Not really disrespected but there just hasn’t been any consideration for the impact on the residents San Pedro people. It also affects the tourist industry there as well. People are smart enough and they should be respected enough to have the capacity to negotiate or have a seat at the table since they got the elected officials in there to say okay what at the options we have. We see some observations, we see some changes occurring, what are the recommendations?”

Jorge Aldana, Protestor
“Belizeans are going through the worsest time and to incur a recession at this time would only add more burdens to the people of Belize.”

Jose Sanchez
“Have you actually written to the P.U.C. during the time they said to write and make complaints or suggestions?”

Jorge Aldana
“We have written to the P.U.C. We have submitted a letter attached with four hundred fifty-four signatures and the P.U.C. rejected our submission. They said that they are only accepting the submission and the rejection by B.W.S.L. who did not accept the ten point six percent and they want a twenty-five percent increase. So they rejected our letter that we sent to them. This cause is not a matter about P.U.P. or U.D.P.; everybody wah punish, you, me, blue red yellow orange. Everybody wah punish.”

The Belize Water Services Limited initially proposed a twenty-five percent rate increase to finance a ninety-two point five million dollar expansion plan. But that proposed increase was reduced to a ten percent increase. The matter will now be reviewed by an independent expert, who will submit a report by January eighteenth 2010.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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