David Estwick and the BWA Board Must Resign Over the South Coast Sewage Mess


Atlee Brathwaite, Chairman of the BWA

Early in 2017 the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) introduced changes to the management team.  Acting General Manager John Mwansa was replaced by Keithroy Halliday, Charles Leslie assumed the role of Director of Engineering, Wayne Richards was appointed to the post of Project Director, Patricia Inniss took over the Wastewater Division and Joy-Ann Haigh retained her corporate and communications role with additional responsibility for the rapid response unit. BU cannot confirm if the appointment of a Director of Finance was filled as announced.

Why have we highlighted the changes in the management team?

One year after the management shakeup the challenges the country has subsequently experienced with the South Coast Sewage plant leak exposes a level of incompetence on many fronts. In particular the decision by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to NOT replace two pumps required to ensure extraneous matter is screened and prevented from infiltrating the sewage lines is very serious and those responsible must be held accountable. The result of the mismanagement is that blockage has occurred in the sewage system. Ironically the Board had no problem paying an invoice to Hal Gollop QC for 1.5 millions dollars in legal fees – see link to the invoice.

It is not a case of being unfair to BWA employees, however, given the threat to the health of residents and visitors, millions of tax dollars already spent to remedy the problem and to remain true to an effective performance management system heads must roll as a result of the South Coast mess. We should add that the lack of routine maintenance of the plant appears to be the cause of the equipment failure.

To date most of the commentary has been wrapped in the political.  The reality is that we have very qualified professionals employed at the BWA who are charged with making decisions in the interest of the country. The public must be told if the Board was advised to replace the two pumps and if it ignored the decision. Was it a case of the Board not being informed about the failed pumps because of a flawed internal reporting process? In any event the buck stops with the Board of the BWA which reports to Minister David Estwick. To date the Atlee Brathwiate Board and David Estwick have not been asked to resign neither are we aware their resignations have been tendered.

Clearly any decision to dismiss personnel at the BWA at this time will have political implication with a general election around the corner. In a private sector organization the personnel responsible for a foul up of such magnitude would have been dismissed for incompetence a long time ago. In a meritocracy this must be the routine. Regrettably our system is one where political expediency takes pride of pace.

A lot has been written and said about the South Coast sewage leak. BU adds to the commentary by calling for the resignation of David Estwick and the Atlee Brathwaite board of directors with immediate effect.







  • No, he can be responsible for the damn pumps not being replaced.


  • Will the BWA share with the public what actions were taken that has led to an abatement of the sewage leaking into the streets of Worthing/Hastings?


  • What a totally inept, incompetent government……………..they refused to take action until advisories are now issued by Canada and now the US for Barbados. Wait for the British to follow tomorrow.

    What idiots we have running this country!

    To think that pitbull David Estwick had the nerve to show up to the installation on Monday skinning his teeth like the jackass he is. He has not been doing his job and should really resign.

    He has no principles at all…..had he any principles, he would have resigned when the PM and Stinkliar treated him the way they did with the the Arab refinancing proposal, the sugar factory project and the BWA project.

    So tell me why is he still around? I would really like to know if he has the guts to face the people of this country during the elections. Jackass!


  • Pictures of Sealy and Boyce engaged in that PR stunt when they took a dip in the poowater will make things interesting.


  • Good to hear the GM of BWA confirmation that the four mitigation measures have succeeded in stopping the flow of sewage through the manholes. Now to fixing the breech and the blockage!


  • Perhaps we should put our south coast fatbergs in the museum and charge tourist $20 USD to see it


    A ‘fatberg’ — a lump of grease, wet wipes and condoms — is being displayed at the Museum of London

    Chunks from the 143-ton fatberg found in London’s aging sewer system went on display at the Museum of London on Friday, retelling the story of how sewer workers tackled a massive blob of waste — using jet hoses, pickaxes, spades and shovels.

    LONDON—The Mona Lisa it is not.

    But the new “Fatberg!” exhibition in central London is nonetheless drawing attention for its own special reasons. The latest attraction at the Museum of London is rocklike, repugnant and revolting. It also has tiny bugs living on it.

    Chunks from the 143-ton fatberg found in London’s aging sewer system went on display at the Museum of London on Friday, retelling the story of how sewer workers tackled a massive blob of waste — using jet hoses, pickaxes, spades and shovels.
    The giant blob, discovered last September in the Whitechapel area of East London, garnered international attention. It took nine weeks to dismantle the congealed clump of grease, wet wipes, condoms and other icky items.

    It may have been compelling, in an I-don’t-want-to-look-but-can’t-help-it sorta way, but the sight of the advancing detritus clogging up the sewers wasn’t pretty.

    Not that it stopped the Museum of London from wanting to get their (gloved) hands on a few samples.

    “A fatberg has long been on the Museum of London wish list. We want to reflect the highs and lows of city living,” said curator Vyki Sparkes.

    Fatbergs are “gross, but strangely compelling,” she added.

    They are also a major problem in the British capital, which has a Victorian sewer system that has struggled to cope as the city’s population has increased. The British utility company Thames Water spends about 1 million pounds ($1.4 million U.S.) a month fighting the fatbergs that are lurking in the pipes and tunnels beneath the people’s feet, many located in areas of London with restaurants that pour cooking oil down the drain. If fatbergs aren’t removed, they can cause sewer overflows.

    It’s not just a London problem, of course. Last fall, a 20-foot fatberg was dislodged from the sewers in Baltimore.

    But London may be the first city to encase samples of sewage in perspex viewing boxes and then invite people round to check it out.

    Sparkes says that part of the reason fatbergs have captured the public imagination is down to the name, for which we can thank London sewer workers. They coined the term “fatberg,” which entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.

    “People can really visualize that it’s like a giant iceberg but made of fat,” Sparkes said.

    It’s not all doom and gloom. The display reveals that some of the fatberg was converted into biodiesel that helps to run London buses.

    The samples on display, which were air-dried, look like clumps of moonscape or a small asteroid. But lean in and you’ll see a tiny piece of a Double Decker chocolate bar wrapper poking out of one greyish blob. Lean in even closer and you’ll see the small flies that hatched when the samples were in quarantine.

    “You can see flies walking along and crawling — it’s like it has its own pets,” said Sparkes, who added that “this is almost like a live experiment.” She says she doesn’t know what the exhibition will look like at the end of its run in July. “It’s attracting flies, it’s changing. It definitely looks a lot different from when we got it a few months ago. The sample that air dried faster has crumbled into parts.”

    Thames Water, the utility company, says it hopes the display will spark a larger conversation about what gets flushed down the drain — particularly things that cause headaches like wet wipes, condoms and sanitary pads.

    “We’d like people to realize what they are flushing down the toilet, or pouring down the sink can have an effect. Just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it’s gone forever,” said Lee Irving, a Thames Water spokesman.

    “We are down in the sewers tackling fatbergs every single day,” he said.


  • https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/09/12/uk-engineers-launch-sewer-war-against-giant-fat-blob.html
    U.K. engineers launch ‘sewer war’ against giant fat blob
    Thames Water officials said Tuesday it is likely to take three weeks to dissolve the massive “fatberg,” which is 230 metres long.

    It actually took 9 weeks, not 3 to dislodge the fatberg.


  • https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/09/13/museum-of-london-bids-to-acquire-chunk-of-fatberg-clogging-sewer.html
    “Museum of London bids to acquire chunk of ‘fatberg’ clogging sewer
    The museum hopes to obtain a cross-section of the hardened blob of fat, oil, diapers and baby wipes currently clogging one of London’s sewers. It hasn’t decided how it would be displayed.”


  • @https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/29/how-torontos-sewage-system-keeps-us-safe-from-fatbergs-to-preventing-floods.html
    “How Toronto’s sewage system keeps us safe, from ‘fatbergs’ to preventing floods
    An inside look at the 11,000-kilometre underground system rarely seen by the millions it services.

    Although they go down the drain as liquids, fat, oil and grease harden when they cool in pipes and sewers, creating blockages known as “fatbergs.” And although wet wipes are “flushable” in the sense that they go down the toilet, they don’t break down and end up clogging pipes…
    People flushing medications or dumping liquids like paint down storm drains is another complication…pump stations may get jammed by dental floss”


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