There is no need to be prolix about the current state of the water supply and distribution system in Barbados. As a reminder of the games politicians from both the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Democratic Labour Party (DLP) have played with our most precious resource, BU often refers to the late David Thompson’s speech to the staff of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) delivered in 2009. One measurement the citizens of Barbados should be able to evaluate any government is the level of efficiency it exercises to manage the water resource. Not since the period of Nicky Sealy can we recall BWA being eligiable for a passing grade.
All of our central government and statutory agencies need to be efficiently managed. Because water is an essential commodity the BWA needs to be managed as a professional outfit. Instead, we have had to accept through the years the appointment of political lackeys to the BWA Board of Directors. It reached the ridiculous under this government with the appointment of an Executive Chairman. Although it must be said Minister David Estwick has been spending borrowed money to install mains, build spanking headquarters and a few other projects – can we say water supply and distribution has improved? Can we say that 40% of our water continues to leak from rusted mains? BU will recognize good performance by the BWA when every citizen of Barbados is guaranteed a reliable supply of potable water. No excuses, no ifs or bloody butts.
If we are to accept the latest mouthings by Minister Estwick, temporary and permanent desalination plants will be integral to the water supply solution in Barbados. Of interest to BU is the fact two desalination facilities are majority owned by local businessman Bizzy Williams, Ionics (Spring Garden, St.Michael) registered in 1999 and Potable Water Supply (Groves, St. Philip) registered in 2010. Should we be concerned about the growing concentration of ownership in our water supply? After all Bizzy has admitted that he supports financing the PIP. What we need from our government is to demonstrate greater transparency in how they manage. Where is the building of a quality society constantly touted by this government if a few are always the ones to benefit?
Will Barbadians be given a coherent explanation why the BWA pull back from the water prohibition order a couple week ago? With no explanation one is left to speculate the managers of the BWA are clueless. What Barbadians need to hear from the executive of the BWA is a dispassionate delivery of the vision, the implementation of the project plan, ramping up customer service and the assurance the BWU is fully supportive. This requires leadership, not braying at press briefings.