UNC: RIC was never under threat

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

RIP RIC: People display a fake coffin which featured prominently during the RIC’s aborted public consultation on Wednesday night at the Centre Point Mall in Chaguanas. FILE PHOTO –

THE Opposition United National Congress (UNC) is denying claims that members of the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) were threatened verbally or physically during the aborted consultation on Wednesday night at the Centre Point Mall in Chaguanas.

The media, including this newspaper, reported on scenes which played out and which included a fake coffin bearing the words, “RIP RIC” and several placards being used by members of the audience, some of whom were shouting, during the consultation.

This led to RIC chairman Dawn Callender calling a halt to proceedings and leaving under the watch of police officers.

The commission, in a subsequent media release, said it would not be intimidated and vowed to continue doing its work.

However, the UNC in a statement under the hand of the party’s PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo on Friday evening, also claimed television and newspaper accounts of the event were inaccurate.

The UNC said it was standing in full support of “oppressed” citizens. The release also claimed the RIC and PNM had put a spin on events to show the “classic case of the bully pretending to be the victim.”

Meighoo insisted that at no time was any RIC member threatened verbally or physically, that there were at least a dozen police officers present, and at no time did they (the police) see any need to intervene, warn or caution any speaker.

The release alleged that RIC members were unable or unwilling to answer very specific and important questions from the audience.

The UNC said, contrary to news reports, no MPs stormed the stage, but instead asked permission to talk to Callender after she aborted the event, “with a view to assuring her that she was not at any time under any threat of violence.”

That consultation was the latest in a series held by the RIC to elicit the public’s views on the proposed increase in electricity rates, which may soon be followed by an increase in water rates. Also on the cards is the implementation of the property tax.