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Opposition Calls Premier, Government “Out of Touch”

Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood has labeled the Progressive National Party (PNP) Government as out of touch after tuning to its press conference on August 25.

Opposition Hon. Edwin Astwood

In a news release, the opposition leader said he listened to the news conference to hear the country’s leaders address what he described as pressing issues affecting the country, but they did not.

“I wanted to hear their plans to deal with the cost of living, food and fuel cost, power cost, jobs, illegal immigration, unemployment, and underemployment. Instead, our people only heard about how well the premier and his ministers were received by the institutions they visited over the summer so far,” Astwood said in the news release.

He further stated: “Additionally, the measures that were introduced by the PNP government to tackle inflation and the cost of living are not having any impact on the aforementioned. It is felt that their measures are having the opposite effect, that is, prices continue to rise, the cost of living is getting higher, people are finding it harder to pay bills and buy food, and electricity bills continue to rise.”

The opposition leader applauded the $1,000 stimulus but stated that policies to tackle inflation was non -existent.

“The $1,000 was well welcomed by all, but as a measure to temporarily stop the bleeding. However, the measures to deal with the problem are missing. Where are those policies, and where are those real plans? What is being done for the most vulnerable of our citizens, the unemployed and the underemployed, and what about senior citizens on pensions?” the opposition leader queried, while calling on the administration to directly give monetary relief to pensioners and other vulnerable groups.

“I would like for the government to now consider giving direct monetary assistance to our pensioners, the unemployed, and those citizens who make under $3,000 per month. This could be an additional $500 or $1,000 to these vulnerable groups who are being hit the hardest by the very high cost of living facing our people,” Astwood said.

He also chided the government for being lax on the rising electricity cost.

“Earlier the Premier Stated that he will get involved with the incumbent Electricity Provider on the issue of escalating prices on the consumers, who can hardly afford to pay. The position that unless Fortis does something, he will not intervene is not acceptable and a total abdication of responsibility as a government. In a time like this, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government, even if this PNP Administration, does not perceive it, retains sufficient powers and policy scope to do something,” Astwood charged.

“Where the current Electricity Ordinance allows for Alternative Energy production, the government of the day should seek investment in the alternative energy sector. I challenge this PNP government that if they truly care for the people of this country, they would take the small sum of 10,000,000 from the huge surplus that we have to buy and distribute 1Kw solar panel system to all citizens who own a home, to help reduce the burden on our people.

“With the claim of so much money in the Treasury, they should be financing and subsidizing local business start-ups in the alternative energy sector. The Government should initiate meaningful talks with Fortis to prepare acceptable legislation to enable any savings from the production of Alternative energy to be passed onto the Consumer,” Astwood suggested.

He also bats for taxes or import duties on fuel for the production of electricity be removed and regulations put in placed to ensure that savings are passed onto the Consumer.

“There is a lot that can be done but it requires care and a willingness by the Government to see that something can be done. A press conference to talk about the welcome reception the Premier received during his travels is not the priority of the people, and it in no way addresses the issues facing our people. This only confirms how out of touch this PNP government is,” Astwood said.


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