Senate Votes to Subpoena WAPA and PSC Officials

Sen. Kenneth Gittens says it is time to be aggressive with WAPA. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, V.I. Legislature.)
Sen. Kenneth Gittens says it is time to be aggressive with WAPA. (Photo by Barry Leerdam, V.I. Legislature.)

When Sen. Kenneth Gittens rose on the floor of the Legislature Tuesday to initiate what he calls “a more aggressive approach when it comes to WAPA,” he encountered no resistance from the 14 other senators.

The Senate unanimously approved his motion to convene a Committee of the Whole hearing within 45 days and to subpoena Water and Power Authority officials, members of the WAPA governing board and members of the Public Services Commission.

Sen. Novelle Francis said he supported Gittens’ measure and called the proposed meeting an “investigative hearing.”

Sen. Kurt Vialet said it was necessary to bring all the people involved before the Senate. He said he can’t go anywhere in the territory without being asked, “What is the Senate going to do about WAPA?”

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In a Facebook post Tuesday evening, Gittens said, “We must get to the bottom of what is really taking place at WAPA and start working to chart a new path forward. The current state of affairs is absolutely unacceptable – our bills are outrageous, and service is increasingly unreliable.”

“It’s time to explore other ways to manage the utility to include privatization and a shift to greater reliance on alternative energy,” he added.

WAPA has recently increased rates, had several power outages and been a victim of a million-dollar scam.

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