Barbados Underground has featured many times the address delivered by the late Prime Minister David Thompson to the Barbados Water Authority staff in 2009 soon after winning the government. What a wonderful speech that promised so much and so far has yielded so little.
It is ironic we have a similar discussion in the country about the lack of progress made about implementing sustainable measures to grow food security. What does it say about the leadership we have produced that in 2020 we struggle with distributing potable water to citizens in some areas of a 166 sq ml island AND import most of our food from outside the region?
Ironically our leadership has had no problem building shiny new buildings, case in point the Barbados Water Authority occupies a 50 million dollar building at a time 100 year old mains deliver brown water or no water to residents in St. John and St. Joseph to name two of the parishes hardest hit. The Auditor General was sufficiently impressed that mains laying and construction of the headquarters gained dishonourable mention in auditor general reports.
For decades, the residents of St. Joseph, have endured a scarcity of water. We are told, there is no money to relieve them of this predicament. Yet, in today’s Nation, the head of the major tourism association, while welcoming the $200 million given to his association as part of the so-called-stimulus, is stating that it may not be enough and the industry is not going to recover anytime soon. This fully contradicts what the Minister of Tourism stated less than a week ago. He said eight months.
Now pray tell how can we not find the money to remove the indignity of the residents of St Joseph unable to even wash their hands during this crisis but “just so” we can find $200 million to give tourism.
How on this earth or the next, can we boast of a two billion dollar this and that but citizens in ; St. Lucy, St. Joseph , St. Andrew and St. John, are denied the basic right to have clean drinking water. And when they do get water it is brown because of underlying problems with the old rusting mains. The strange thing is that they have to pay their water bills while praying for a water tanker to come by. Strange indeed
The recent public statement from the Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams lamenting the lack of funds to address water availability issues in certain areas of the island is troubling. To also listen to a minister in Cabinet with the senior rank of Attorney General publicly criticizing a Cabinet colleague and government by diplomatically directing his criticism at the Barbados Water Authority adds to the issue.
The bottomline: we need to fix the problem and it is not fixed by saying a water tanker will be dispatched twice daily to areas affected.
The blogmaster is aware this is a difficult time for the government challenged by the raging pandemic. However, there are basic deliverables any caring government cannot compromise on delivering.