Padarath hits RIC’s closed-door consultations

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Princes Town MP Barry Padarath.

PRINCES Town MP, Barry Padarath says he is deeply concerned with the Regulated Industries Commission which he claimed is attempting to conceal the views of major stakeholders by the hosting of closed-door consultations on the proposed increase in electricity rates.

Padarath, the Opposition’s shadow minister for public utilities stated that in a release on the weekend that after the very public fallout at the last two public consultations in Tunapuna and Arima, the RIC has opted to retreat behind closed doors to cushion the blows from the public on price increases.

The Princes Town MP is calling on all chambers of commerce, business organisations and trade unions to demand of the RIC that discussions be held in the full view of the public glare.

This comes on the heels of a report that the RIC will meet next week behind closed doors with stakeholders such as chambers, unions and business groups.

The MP said that the Opposition is very dissatisfied with the way the consultation process is being managed and feels these consultations are being micromanaged and stymied in an attempt to quell the public distrust and opposition to rate increases.

Padarath stated that in the interest of fairness and transparency, the commission should commit to making all submissions by interest group public on a designated virtual portal, where citizens can access the views and or recommendations made during the consultation process, as well as to live stream the discussions and conversations that are scheduled to take place over the course of the next week.

He also questioned what the RIC was attempting to hide from the people, whose interest they were meant to serve.