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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


National Water and Sewerage Commission (NWSC) - Draft Determination Notice - PROPOSED NEW TARIFF FOR WASCO

The National Water and Sewerage Commission(NWSC) through the power vested in it through the Water and Sewerage Act of 2005 as amended in 2008 section 37 ( C ) hereby requests comments from the public of St. Lucia on a new proposed tariff for the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) for provision of water and sewerage services.

Comments should be addressed as follows:

Executive Director
National Water and Sewerage Commission
Greaham Louisy Administrative Building

Ref: New Proposed Tariff for WASCO


National Water and Sewerage Commission
P.O. Box CP 6307
St. Lucia

Summary of Decision

Agency: National Water and Sewerage Commission (NWSC)

Water Company: St. Lucia Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO)

Activity: Tariff Review

Type of Review: Extraordinary

Duration of New Tariff: Three Years

Stage: Draft Determination Notice


The National Water and Sewerage Commission (NWSC) was established through the Water and Sewerage Act of 2005 as amended in 2008 Section 36. The Commission is responsible for regulating the delivery of water and sewerage services throughout the island. Section 37 (1)(c) of the Act gives the NWSC the authority to establish and approve tariff schemes for the water and sewerage Service Provider.

Based on data provided by WASCO, the NWSC has carried out an analysis to determine the rate and the revenue requirement of the company. The Revenue Requirement of WASCO based on the NWSC analysis is EC$ 60,546,307.00 per annum. This will necessitate an increase of 66.15% in water and 140.30% in waste water. Table 1 shows the new rates for water consumption and Table 2 shows the new rates for waste water. These rates shall be effective upon publication of the final determination notice.
Water and Sewerage Rates

Table 1: Water Rates 
Existing Rates per 1000 gallon
% Increase (66.15%)
New Tariff (E.C)
Domestic :            First 3000 Gallons
                    In excess of 3000 Gallons
                      Minimum Charge 2000                       Gallons

Commercial / Industry:
Table 2: Sewerage Rates
Existing Rates per 1000 gallon
% Increase (140.30%)
New Tariff (E.C)
Domestic :            First 3000 Gallons
                    In excess of 3000 Gallons
                      Minimum Charge 2000                       Gallons

Commercial / Industry:

By approving the new tariff for WASCO, the NWSC expects to see some level of improvement at WASCO, and will therefore be engaging the company immediately to establish certain targets, which must be achieved during the tariff period. These are some of the areas that will be given consideration:

 Non-Revenue Water
 Increased efficiency
 Increased response to customers complaints
 More reliable service delivery

 Reduction of inactive customers.

There is a wide gap between total customers (59,998) and active customers (40,976). The NWSC believes that WASCO need to find ways to reduce this difference (19,022 inactive customers). The Government has provided one avenue through the amnesty that was announced by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in the Budget presentation of 2012-2013.

Quality of Service standards

The NWSC will engage the Minister of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology so that the Water and Sewerage (Service Standards) Regulations can be enacted without delay.

Charge: A charge of EC $500,000.00 shall be paid to the NWSC annually by WASCO.

Fees: WASCO shall pay a license fee of EC$200,000.00 annually to the NWSC.

Quarterly Report
WASCO will need to submit Quarterly Reports to the NWSC with the following information:

1. Non Revenue Water (NRW)
2. Outstanding Debts (inactive customers)
3. Information on the Amnesty Program
4. Staffing information (including recruitment s and category)
5. Customer complaints
6. Accounting System
7. Customer Information System
8. Total number of customers (active or otherwise) and category
9. Service interruption (areas; duration and reasons)
10. Detail information on maintenance expenses (administrative expense)
11. Detail information on selling expenses

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Reprinted from

As an only child, Natasha Mortley had a very vivid imagination.

She saw herself skirting the double role of lawyer and model; a legal catwalk apparently. But that was just a bright little girl entertaining herself in the absence of other siblings. She was not lonely though – her Sans Souci home-ground was teeming with friendly neighbours and childhood friends.

“So although I had no brothers, sisters or cousins at home, I did have many friends. I have always been a ring leader, never been a follower and that applied to both home and school. Some would say I was very a “ana-faire” child.”

Natasha attended Canon Laurie Anglican, St. Joseph’s Convent and finally A Level College. As she grew older, she says she relinquished the idea of modelling but still had a desire to pursue the legal profession. That lingering dream didn’t quite work out. But from an early age, Mortley knew she was headed for higher learning.

“My grand dad was a school master and he instilled the value of education in me from very, very early. I got a government scholarship and went to UWI, St Augustine Trinidad to pursue my BSc in Sociology. I decided to go to Trinidad because I didn’t want to be too far away from home.  I chose Sociology because I loved the subject and thought it would be a great start and foundation for doing Law.   Once I completed that degree, I knew I had to move on to the next and the next and so I found that I wasn’t quite ready to return home until I had gone all the way.”

Life at university was one of balance. “I partied hard, was involved in several clubs and University activities and I studied hard. I was President of The Dance Theatre, President of the St. Lucian Students Association in T&T and Faculty Representative for my faculty. I was part of the movement and first ever UWI Carnival at St Augustine.”

Dr. Mortley’s specialty is International Development. Her decision to go into this area was prompted by her own recognition at the time, that it, was the hot topic in the Sociology dialogue and high up on the agenda of all developing country governments. She thought that by specializing in International Development, she could become a government consultant.

It was at that point she decided that maybe the study of Law could be put on hold for the time being.

The rest, as the saying goes is history. Mortley is currently a Research Fellow at UWI Mona. She manages a project on building capacity for global health research. The project is funded by the International Development Research Centre, Canada and is based at Mona. The good doctor also finds time to do some lecturing in Sociology and Research Methods.

She is a published author, having written the book “St. Lucian Women On The Move”.

“St Lucian Women on The Move was my MPhil thesis. I was approached by a publisher in Europe to publish it as a book and so I did. You will find therefore that the book is very academic in nature.”

To date, Dr. Mortley says her greatest achievement is her attainment of her doctorate.  ”A very close second would be my being one of the top five finalists at the Global Development Network Awards for Research in Prague in 2010. I was the only finalist from the Caribbean.”

She gets to come home at least twice year, but the prohibitive cost of travelling out of Jamaica to St. Lucia is what prevents more frequent visits to the island. A permanent stay in her homeland would be a desired situation but she feels the timing is not quite right. “There are still many things that I want to accomplish and to do before returning home. When I return home I want to be able to give of my very best to my country and also to work for myself.”

So what does a doctor at the top of her class do in her spare time? “Dance, read, and carnival which I love. I also enjoy dining out with my small circle of very good friends. I also maintain an online book club and a blog on “Dos and Don’t s both of which are quite vibrant and fun.”

OLT Digital


RSLPF - Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Two of the six persons involved in Friday’s fiery vehicular accident in Balenbouche, Choiseul have been hospitalized with serious injuries, police said.

According to a police press release, at about 9:45 pm on Friday, March 22, 2013, officers attached to the Choiseul Police Station responded to an accident which occurred at Balenbouche, Choiseul.

Reports indicate that a silver Subaru wagon, registration number 7847, driven by 25-year-old Delvern Jn Pierre of Corinth, Gros Islet, ran off the right side of the road and slammed into a utility pole.

As a result of the impact, both the utility pole and motor car caught on fire. The car was completely burned.

At the time of the collision, there were six occupants on the vehicle including the driver. They are 25-year-old Anders Daniel of Morne Fortune, Castries; 26-year-old Barbara Faissal of Cedars Heights, Vieux Fort; 21-year-old Nikita Smith and 17-year-old Pearline Smith of Londonderry, Saltibus; and 25-year-old Marvin Flerin of Cedar Heights, Vieux Fort.

All occupants of the vehicle sustained injuries and were transported to St Jude’s Hospital.

Police said Jn Pierre and Pearline Smith were admitted for serious injuries.

An investigation into the accident continues.

Monday, March 25, 2013



“Am I hearing this correctly that the civil servants still get paid while on strike? What planet is St Lucia on? I thought that workers paid union dues so that if a strike was called they would receive strike pay from the union. Whoever heard of the employer paying strike pay. Please tell me I'm wrong” - DT, Choiseul, St. Lucia

The Civil Service Association (CSA), in its attempt to wrestle with gov’t in the pursuit of a 9.5% wage hike, will today enter its second week of strike action. The CSA’s ongoing strike action is in many ways a sequel to a protracted series of industrial action rocking the nation since February which started just before our 34th Independence anniversary and continued with a spate of meetings and sick outs under the TUF umbrella, as public sector unions sought a whopping 16% pay hike.

Eventually, the industrial action culminated in a lone strike action by the CSA - the only trade union that has been left out in the cold, locking horns with the Government Negotiation Team (GNT) over a request for pay increase of 9.5%. Meanwhile, all the other sister trade unions have accepted a 4% pay increase with conditions. It must be noted that the CSA at one point requested 4.5% with conditions but when the GNT turned it down, it suddenly reverted to 9.5% or nothing.

It is obvious that the CSA's “9.5% fixation” has run it into “trouble after trouble” with almost every sector of society, even including members of the (seemingly) disintegrating TUF. By its demonstrable lack of interest in a rapprochement, the CSA has brought about much unnecessary disharmony and protraction in the negotiations, making it appear that the entire process has degenerated into an irrational skirmish between the GNT and the CSA. At the moment, the extent of “collateral damage” to the CSA itself and the state generally has not been properly assessed. Suffice it to say, that there will be collateral damage and despite the vociferousness of its PR machinery, the CSA seems to be losing its grip as the GNT continues to remain solid in its position.

My own initial assessment is the long and meandering episode of industrial action by CSA seemed to have taken a substantial toll on its intellectual resources and credibility. To add insult to injury, the UWP has now entered the picture as a fraternal buddy, expressing marginal support and solidarity as well as propagating misinformation about the arrival of a shipment of tear gas on island.

It is obvious that the negotiations reached an endpoint since the GNT's offer of 4%. Indeed, in the public eye, the offer of 4% seemed a fait accompli which only the CSA has rejected. Notwithstanding, it is encouraging that in its latest overture to return to the table, a modicum of rationality seems to have returned to its head; however, one finds it difficult to reconcile that hint of “an olive branch” and overtures with its express intention to continue with strike action today. The whole thing is now beginning to look like an ego trip with a political agenda that is not so hidden.

Whatever the case may be, the country must think and act responsibly and overlook that ego trip! Government must accept the overture to talk and use the opportunity to put new proposals that will benefit both the workers and the state on the table. At this point in the stalemate, a sublime measure of reciprocity is required to achieve a meaningful breakthrough solution. In this article, I propose a “framework” to end the current strike action and to return the country back to work! I argue that government should award the public servants their 9.5% pay request but "with conditions". One of the conditions being a guarantee that 9.5% will translate to proportional increase in economic growth. The rationale for this position is also explained.

Where is the solidarity?
It is clear that the CSA under its leadership has lost its bearing and we need to help it find its way again. It’s definitely not the same powerful and principled CSA which was headed by Gabriel "Coco" Charles, Calixte George, David Demacque, Kingsley St. Hill or Joseph Dosserie! The CSA has lost its axis and it is losing friends rapidly as it degenerates into a mere a relic of the powerful trade union it used to be; and now, it is more and more beginning to look like a political tool. It’s also noteworthy that, up to this point, I haven't heard a single message of solidarity or support from any member of the local, regional or international trade union fraternity; only from the UWP and a couple of cronies.

Shooting in the foot
Apparently, in its desperate pursuit of an unreasonable 9.5 - 16% wage increase, the CSA's back and forth skirmishes have not only hurt them but moreso our tottering economy. It has more than “exposed itself to the elements” and in the process has uncharacteristically crouched in every conceivable posture – some of them unwarranted - to convince stakeholders that it deserves an exorbitant salary increase way above what the country can afford. What’s probably even more puzzling to me is the introduction of its first Vice President (Mr Pierre) as the economist – I assume – present its “economic argument”; but, its passing real strange that I have not heard a single credible and coherent economic argument from the honourable gentlemen to substantiate the CSA case - only extraneous scenarios filled with emotion and devoid of economic logic or sense. The CSA is almost shooting itself in the foot.

First pillars: VAT, inflation and consultants
To put the matter in logical perspective, let’s profile the chronicle of the CSA's multiplicity of shifting positions over time. Its initial overtures were generally of a “politico-economic” nature focusing on VAT, inflation and government’s top-heavy consultancies as the main pillars of its case. Indeed, I was shocked by the preponderance of misconceptions and illogic that circumscribed the arguments about VAT, even more so by the executing and implementing civil service agencies vested with the responsibilities for the implementation and oversight for the tax.  I was even more appalled by the first VP’s attempt to exonerate the civil service and put the “locus of control” for all the implementation "evils" and anomalies exclusively on the private sector and/or government. That angle was largely unfair and illogical because of the fact that the civil service is government's regulatory mechanism for consumer affairs. I winced at that desperate pseudo-argument and asked “Is there a need for a consumer affairs and price control department in government if they demonstrably shirk their critical responsibility for regulatory oversight and protection to the consumer?”

Second pillar: Water Tariff increase
Another seeming centre-piece in the CSA argument in their battle for a wage increase was the announcement of WASCO's proposal for an increase in water tariffs. As soon as WASCO announced the consideration of a proposed 60% tariff increase, the CSA like the malfini immediately pounced on it and made it a major platform to justify its the wage increase request. Strangely, that centre-piece seemed to have fizzled out with time.

Third Pillar: Discrimination
Then came the acceptance of GNT's wage offer by the PWA and the domino effect which followed. The CSA was apparently wounded and driven into a corner by the domino effect.  It suggested that Government was “discriminatory” in the offer of conditions to other TUF member unions by awarding them better allowances/benefits. That seemed to have soured them to the point where it caused them to “up their ante” from 4.5%  with benefits (which was turned down by the GNT) to a straight 9.5% - a claim they have yet to sufficiently justify in either qualitative or quantitative terms.

CSA and representation
Lately, the wild swinging for 9.5% has been directed at the private sector, blaming it for price gouging and other related offenses. That buck-passing raises three fundamental questions: (1) when will the civil servants accept responsibility for the duties they are paid to do to protect the public? (2) Are they ready for that responsibility anyway? And even more importantly, (3) when will that adolescent type trade unionism end?

Two additional issues also arise: Firstly, was the CSA ever prepared for negotiations? Secondly, does its leadership have the capacity to present an effective case on behalf of its membership? In the light of the meandering and posturing, I believe these are fair issues which beg for enlightenment. My own frank opinion is, the CSA might have sold themselves short.

In its effort to catch up, the CSA reminds me of the proverbial drowning man grabbing for any straw which comes its way. And that takes me to a new issue they have of late factored in the negotiation equation, namely, the public service workers who earn $950/month. The 1st VP claimed that with an award of 4%, those workers would receive a measly $3 monthly increase in salary. My calculations have shown otherwise: A 4% increase would amount to $38 (4% of $950 = $38); not $3! Should we assume that the 1st VP’s math is a logical application of the CSA’s “negotiation calculus”? I would hate to entertain that view but I can’t run away from its plausibility.

But let’s go further and ask: were the CSA ever serious about the category of workers who earn $950/month beyond lip service? And if this were the case, then why didn’t it negotiate using a mechanism to address that anomaly? It is noteworthy that with the 4% award, persons at the top of the salary scale will get a pay increase in the vicinity of $300 a month or over 700% more than the worker earning $950/month. Why didn’t the CSA - like the police, teachers and nurses - negotiate more smartly on behalf of those workers? Apparently, it went into negotiations without a plan to benefit its lesser members.

Preferential treatment
The CSA is crying wolf and now seeking a “preferential” - or is it an "executive" - 9.5% increase; but will it solve the wide gap between the “top-heavy” civil service and the $950/monthly paid workers at the bottom. Absolutely no!

Let’s see what will happen if the GNT were to agree to that 9.5% wage demand. The average CSA top executive (like the president) would now walk away with a spanking $665 monthly increase but the worker earning $950/month would only net a measly $90.25 monthly. Does this scenario give the CSA any moral authority to talk about equity?

Tottering angle
The CSA machinery evidently remains at the same tottering angle that it was at the beginning of the negotiation process; if anything, its position has become more precarious, as it is now hanging between the devil of its own intransigent indiscretion and the deep blue sea of increasing negative public opinion!

Based on my graph of expectations, I project the trend of irrationality and dilemma to continue to move upward as the strike continues into Week 2. The projected output or outcome can be nothing more but the pursuit of ego enhancement to compensate for the proliferation of evident deficiencies and to seek to prove a point to their counterparts in the TUF and detractors.

Whatever the outcomes during this week, the bottom line remains that the CSA has mismanaged the negotiation process at every turn. It has caused the process to degenerate almost irretrievably into a kind of senseless confrontational skirmish between itself on one hand and the GNT, the private sector, the general public and even sections of the media on the other hand. Now, it’s trying to catch up with the other TUF members and it must have felt that the best way to do it is by striking. However, in the current economic environment a strike was certainly not the strategically right move. Secondly, the CSA workers have been pursuing industrial action for 4 weeks and they may be coming down with fatigue and illness. With the thunder gone, hope dissipating away, negative public opinion growing and the economy slipping further and further into decline, persisting with the strike isn't only an ill-advised but equally a fatal move.

The new paradigm
Since the negotiation paradigm is "increase + conditions", perhaps, then it may be time for gov’t to join that paradigm and agree to award the civil servants their request with conditions. Firstly, since the CSA has claimed that the civil service drives the economy, then govt can award its members the 9.5% wage increase with conditions.

I propose the first condition should be a guarantee that the wage increase shall translate into a 9.5% growth in the economy. Because the paradigm is new, a number of major changes will be necessary to facilitate the paradigm-shift. One of those changes will be to throw away the current framework of performance assessments which guarantees every civil servant excellent appraisals and replace it with a different assessment framework.  (Check the files of every civil servant and despite allegations low productivity, nobody in the public service fails. Everybody enjoys excellent appraisals.)

Secondly, I propose we stop the Public Service from interviewing, recommending, appointing and appraising fellow civil servants.  I understand there is a Public Service Commission which acts on the recommendation based on appraisals by HODs. I suggest we begin to outsource those responsibilities to an independent private entity (IPE) which better understands the economy, productivity and efficiency. I also suggest that the (IPE) formulates key performance areas as well as performance indicators to form part of the new assessment framework to determine the economic impact of the performance of the civil service. Hence, the entire country will see the measurable returns on investments by the civil service and how do those returns translate to growth and wealth, the proceeds of which we can use part thereof to fund their wage bill. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday March 21, 2013 – The China Co-financing Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean is the first of its kind established by China and a multilateral development bank.

The fund is the result of a partnership between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the People’s Bank of China (PBC) to support public and private sector projects that promote sustainable economic growth in the region.

The IDB said the fund will provide capital to complement the IDB’s own resources for projects seeking to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality, boost private sector investment, improve competitiveness and social welfare, and support programs to mitigate the impacts of climate change and promote greater gender equality.

The proposed US$2 billion contribution by China will be used to co-finance a total of up to US$500 million of IDB public sector loans and up to US$1.5 billion for loans made by the Bank to private sector entities, the IDB said.

It said co-financing fund resources will be used to complement IDB loans, subject to pre-established limits.

The IDB said the funds from China will be available for the next three years for public sector projects and the next six years for non-sovereign guaranteed operations.

“China is a key partner for the Bank’s mission to alleviate poverty and inequality in the region,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.

“This partnership is another example of our efforts to promote greater South-South cooperation to narrow funding gaps in sectors with high developmental impact and enhance the social and economic impact of our projects,” he added.

In partnering with the IDB, China hopes to channel its resources toward development finance projects that require additional financing to make them viable, the statement said.


Saturday, March 16, 2013


KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Friday March 15, 2013 – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is calling on Caribbean countries to establish a regional reparations committee, pledging to spend the rest of his life seeking compensation from the British for land, genocide against the Garifuna, and slavery.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said Cabinet will soon name its reparations committee

“But we want to see not only a reparations committee for St. Vincent but we want to see a Caribbean wide reparations committee involving other Caribbean countries. Jamaica has one, Antigua has one, Barbados has recently set up one,” Gonsalves said as the island observed National Heroes Day on Thursday.

Gonsalves, who turns 67 in August, noted that the average lifespan of a Vincentian male is 74 years.

“I have seven more years, to talk like this, with the help of Almighty God, and to demand a proper historical recompense for genocide, for the land, and for African slavery and for us to reclaim our history,” he said at the Wreath-Laying Ceremony in honour of National Hero Joseph Chatoyer.

Gonsalves reaffirmed the position of his government as stated at the United Nations and other fora that it is making a case and a claim for reparation from the British.

“I want to say that the quantification of what we are owed as reparations that quantification has to be complete with the appropriate technical work.”

He noted that in the 18th Century the British took 90,000 acres of land from the Garifuna, the original inhabitants of St. Vincent.

“Imagine the price of 90,000 acres of land (today). Even if you valued it then for 100 pounds an acre, you are talking about EC$500 million (One EC Dollar = US$0.37 cents) for the land, [at] the least. And then, what value you are going to put on people’s lives? That’s a number we will have to talk about,” he said.

He noted that at Emancipation the British gave slave owners in the British Caribbean 20 million pounds One British Pound =US$1.38 cents).

Prime Minister Gonsalves said a recent study by a British scholar concluded that 20 million pounds then is about 16.58 billion pounds now.

“Just forgetting for a moment the institution of slavery itself, that’s what they paid the owners of the slaves. If you take half of that representing for the Caribbean, you are talking about 8.25 billion pounds for the English speaking Caribbean,” Gonsalves said, adding that the figure is about EC$40 billion.

“Great homes in England -- lord this and lord that -- were financed by the compensation money for the slaves. So when I talk like this you, you have some people saying Ralph (is)] against the British.

“I have nothing against the British. I have nothing but admiration for the British and their achievement but there are some things for which we must take account.”

He said that some people argue that the British gives aid to St. Vincent.

“Well, I rather they give me that (reparation) than give me some aid.  I rather we settle that. This is a matter which can’t be settled in law court. But this is a matter where, politically, we have to raise our voices,” Gonsalves said.

He said he expects “those who have suffered from French and Spanish colonialism to make those same claims against the relevant or appropriate European powers”.

Last month, Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Sir Hilary Beckles, called on Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to begin efforts aimed at seeking some form of reparation from Western countries for slavery.

Speaking at the first of a series of lectures to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the 1763 Berbice Slave Revolt, Sir Hilary said an ongoing discussion was needed to address the issue and called for an “informed and sensible conversation” on what has been described as the, “Worst Crime against humanity”.

Sir Hilary said out that reparation is not about people getting handouts, but about repairing historical damage and how to find a way forward.

He said that while all races experienced some form of slavery, African slavery was unique in its scope and brutality. Comparative studies note that it was the only system of slavery in which people were viewed legally as property and seen as non- humans. (CMC)