The following communication was widely distributed to BWA, Members of Parliament, Bankers, Law Firms and others – Blogmaster

Dear General Manager Keithroy Halliday,

Today Thursday July 8, 2021 a group (around 4 persons) of BWA staff led by supervisor Rueben Sealy came to my office at Lot 243, Flamboyant avenue, Sunset Crest  around 1.15pm with the intention of disconnecting my sole water supply. When I confronted your uninformed staff. with my original DEED of ownership, asking that they not engage in any activity or damage any of my property or trees I was totally ignored. Furthermore, Tina Landro-Parravicino (a UFO and squatter on my estate) held discussions with your BWA staff and even gave instructions about several water fittings on my estate, even though she has no title to my property (Sunset Crest/LimeGrove/Beach Club/Sunset Crest Propriety club).

As a last resort, I made a call to the Holetown Police station whereby several officers attended to the scene a few minutes later. It was only after the Intervention of the officers present that the BWA staff ceased their activities, but not after causing damage to my property.

It should be noted that this action by your BWA staff is not only illegal, but immoral as:

All BWA meters, pipes and or fittings run along ALL THOSE LANDS solely owned by myself, Joseph K Jordan lll (Golden Anchorage Limited). Rents for the use of my lands have not been paid and are due from/by Barbados Water Authority (BWA). On this estate, there is an existing covenant, which cannot be infringed by any ACT (including the BWA ACT).

No bill/invoice for payment has been produced to myself  Joseph K Jordan lll for use of residential water. As such, how can BWA disconnect with no proof of a liability?

Being private property (inclusive of the roadways, sidewalks, easements and pathways) comprising condominiums, villas and hotels, BWA has no legal right nor authority to trespass on my private estate without my permission and a valid warrant. This includes removing any items, trees or fittings from any of these 104 acres approximately of land.

Barbados (like every country in the world) is still battling a pandemic where personal hygiene and sanitation is preached  daily as a requirement to avoid an explosion of COVID infection among both locals and tourists (The lifeblood of our economy and Sunset Crest). How can you in good conscience disconnect a person’s water supply during these times?

In conclusion, I hereby notify you, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and the Government of Barbados that no BWA staff nor contractors shall trespass on my estate as of today, July 8th, 2021 without my prior written consent. Furthermore, as a gesture of goodwill, I am willing to meet with yourself to discuss an amicable resolution to this situation providing the original deeds/conveyances and release deeds that are not only registered at the Lands Registry but also at the High Court Registry.

I thank you in advance for your cooperation and expect your reply within 5 days of this communication.

Joseph K Jordan lll




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

William Skinner

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.

Fix it!

Water Running

Submitted by a conscientious and civic minded BU family member

I am one of those who has been called upon to pay the price of a utility company gone mad and the subsequent fallout.

We have been without water for the past three days, so this afternoon I drove over to Dover Beach in order to replenish dwindling supplies of this precious commodity from the public shower located there.

When I arrived, one of the three showers was already running at full blast although no one was in the immediate area. I proceeded to fill my containers and upon completion, I did as any conscientious person would do, I attempted to turn off the tap.

The accompanying video tells the story.

Now I don’t know if any person or organization within the immediate area has notified BWA, but there are numerous food providers and bars all within a stones throw, as can be seen in the video. There is even a manned life guard station. I don’t know how long this situation has been in existence, but when I hear that we are a water scarce country, when I and my family go without water for three days and then I see this, it gets me very angry.

I hasten to add that government has provided the public and visitors alike with free facilities for all to enjoy the beautiful beaches with which we are blessed. What manner of uncouth human being would be so crass as to abuse the free taxpayer funded showers by stealing all three shower heads and damaging the faucets in such a manner.

Will the newly acquired buses fare any better?

Would anyone care to estimate how much water is being wasted per hour just at this location?

Barbados Gone Dark

The following is a statement issued by the MD of Barbados Light & Power a few minutes ago. Prime Minister Mia Mottley has demanded a meeting with the Chairman of EMERA this evening.

Several stories have been floating about social media in the last 24 hours, BU will stay with the official positions issued by the BL&P for the moment.

Roger Blackman, Managing Director of BLPC

The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BLPC) wishes to update Barbadians on the electricity outages that have occurred this week. We recognise that this affects our nation’s productivity and ability to serve your own customers and clients. For this, we sincerely apologise and wish to assure you that we are taking this very seriously. Our teams are assiduously working to bring full restoration back to our island.
BLPC uses Heavy Fuel Oil to produce electricity to meet the needs of our customers. At present, we are experiencing a Heavy Fuel Oil quality issue, which has been plaguing us for an extended period. The presence of contaminants detected in the Heavy Fuel Oil is the main cause of the challenges we are experiencing.
The outage events which occurred this week are extraordinary events originating with a switch failure in one of our Spring Garden substations, and during that restoration process, a second event occurred on Tuesday morning with a fault on one of our generating units. In both cases system protection response is being investigated.
Over the past few months, to compound the restoration and supply issues, we have been investigating oil quality issues which are prematurely damaging equipment used to feed oil to our generating units. At present, generating units that we would normally rely on to supply electricity demand have periodically been shutting down due to the fuel issues and this has slowed the pace of restoration.
We are working with our fuel supplier and other stakeholders to hone in upon the specific cause and source of potential contamination from their suppliers, which is ongoing. We have been staying ahead of these issues while we completed other maintenance and repairs to the remainder of our generating fleet, however, this week highlighted the challenge we have been working through to prevent such an event from occurring.
We wish to thank you for your patience, support and encouraging words as we work through this period. We are meeting with the Prime Minister, other Government officials and the Barbados Water Authority this evening to give a comprehensive update and to provide an update on our status and plans going forward to resolve our challenges. We will of course keep you updated of any significant changes as things evolve.
The Chairman of our Board Rick Janega from Emera is on island and will be a part of the meeting with government.

Crisis in the Making: Water Woes Continue


I do share your concerns about the quality of general management and strategic planning in both the Public and Private sectors. It calls for more thinking and insightful use of information. Too many employees find this hard to do. Independence implies taking responsibility. No one wants to do that, because of fear of failure. Why is that so?

– Vincent Codrington

It continues to be a puzzlement for the blogmaster why the former government constructed a headquarters for a reported 50 million dollars give a take a few million. A commonsense perspective would have been to appreciate that with 100 year old mains a part of the distribution network, better use of scarce resources would have been to aggressively implement the pipe replacement project. Instead the country had to endure the embarrassment of Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and Barbados Workers Union (BWU) locked in negotiations about this that and the other for months.

Those of us who have been around town long enough are aware that capital works projects create the opportunity for friends to share in the fatted calf. Many blogs have been posted about the mismanagement and lack of strategic thinking at the BWA AND other state owned entities. However, when all is said and done fingers point back to the governments of the day.

The issuance of a prohibition notice by the BWA caught our eye this week. It is no secret Barbados is categorized as a water scarce country. It is also no secret Barbados has been experiencing drought conditions in recent months. It was therefore a shocker to listen to members of the general public and others in civil society questioning why the BWA had not issue a prohibition order earlier to encourage efficient water usage. It appears to the uninformed that public cries to prohibit the use of water for non critical activities galvanized the BWA into action.

If water is a precious water resource should decision-making by key stakeholders not reflect it?

The public is being told one of the measures being pursued to ensure adequate supply of water is to boost production at Ionics desalination plant. The blogmaster recalls the Auditor General in a special audit of the BWA noted that in the Ionics agreement with the government of Barbados had committed to pay Ionics a guaranteed amount whether the BWA had the capacity to receive the amount or not? It was also noted that BWA did not have the capacity to receive water paid for  at the time.

Here are relevant blogs to serve as a refresher:

Another bit of information which caught the ear of the blogmaster from the mouth of the prime minister last week is that she wants the BWA to penetrate the lucrative bottle water market in order to sustain its revenue base. We will park this for now.

Every year do we have to listen to rehashed excuses from the authorities? The rain is not falling to replenish the reservoirs,  Old pipes are springing links and posing a challenge to be repaired, pipes in certain areas need flushing because of old pipes etc etc etc. We need to construct desalination plants.

Water warriors please fall in for another tour of duty!



Chairman of BWA Leodean Worrell Exposed by Innotech

The following document was received from a trusty source and needs no explanation except to say – even in disagreement human being should exercise a basic human quality of mutual respect to ensure the outcomes.

The blogmastser invites Chairlady Leodean Worrell to respond to the document attached and promises that her response will be given equal prominence on the blog.


Was Michael Carrington VAT Registered When he Invoiced the BIDC 706 thousand dollars?


Hal Gollop invoiced the BWA 1.5 million

The startling revelation that Hal Gollop submitted an invoice in 2017 to the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) for 1.5 million dollars continues to raise eyebrows. See BU’s blog post – Hal Gollop’s 1.5 Million Dollar Invoice which went viral. It was also revealed that former Speaker Michael Carrington submitted an invoice to the BIDC for $706, 450 for providing legal services relative to “the $32M sale of a BIDC at Lot A1 Newton Business Park, Christ Church to Gildan Activewear Properties (BVI) Inc. in 2010. This is the same Carrington who had to be ordered by the High Court of Barbados to pay a septuagenarian client his money. See BU’s blog post Tales from the Courts–Justice Jacqueline Cornelius Makes Speaker of the House Michael Carrington PAY XXIV.

In response to a query from the blogmaster whether the incumbent Barbados Labour Party (BLP) government can challenge the invoice, BU family member Artax shared the following:

David BU

I read in today’s Mid-week Nation [15 August 2018] that, while speaking in parliament yesterday, Ronald Toppin queried the fee of $706,450 former Speaker of Parliament Michael Carrington charged BIDC……..

………for providing legal services relative to “the $32M sale of a BIDC at Lot A1 Newton Business Park, Christ Church to Gildan Activewear Properties (BVI) Inc. in 2010.

Toppin said based on his calculation of the scale of fees, the legal fee paid for the BIDC property sale should have been $322,500.

David BU, it becomes more interesting.

According to Toppin, subsequent to the conclusion of the land sale in 2010, Carrington wrote a letter to the BIDC in 2011 in which he indicated that…… at the time the transaction completed…. he was NOT registered for VAT……..

……….and requested the BIDC pay the VAT Division on his behalf……..the VAT of $92,146 his legal fees incurred.

As a QC (and LEC qualified lawyer….. hahahahahaha), Carrington’s earnings would obviously have been above the VAT threshold of $80,000…….hence, in keeping with the VAT laws…..he should be VAT registered.

The dishonest Carrington…. not being VAT registered…… expected the taxpayers to pay on his behalf…….VAT of $92,146 he incurred on his legal fees.

Perhaps the BLP may do something about Gollop’s invoice……..

……… especially if one takes into consideration that one of the services rendered as listed on the said invoice was for preparing a conveyance for the project site to Innotech…….under circumstances where a conveyance was NOT necessary……..

…………because the project site was owned by the NHC…

The reason why Carrington wanted the BIDC to pay the $92,146 on his behalf was because BIDC was obligated to issue him a “goods and services” slip as required by the BRA (Inland Revenue at the time).

And an amount of $709,450 BIDC paid to a service provider, would obviously incurred VAT……and “open a can of worms” for the goodly gentleman.

A check of Carrington’s tax records would have revealed he was not registered and since the fee was above the $80,000 per annum VAT threshold, non payment of the VAT portion would have incurred interest and penalties…….

……..and perhaps an audit of his earnings from 1997 to 2010 to determine if he filed VAT returns and the amount of VAT he did not pay to the VAT Division as required by law.

Wilfred Abrahams’ Press Conference: Disposal Wells NOT Injection Wells, National Crisis in the Making

[Barbados Underground] The information shared in yesterday’s press conference by Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams that the South Coast Sewage Plant AND the Bridgetown Sewage Plant are in a state of sorry repair- although improved functionality pre 24 May 2018 have been reached- should continue to be of concern to ALL Barbadians.

The revelation that there was no transparency around the procurement process to sink the ‘injection wells’ at Graeme Hall, confusion about the depth of the wells tax dollars paid a contractor to sink…and so on.

Listen to the unbelievable revelations by minister Abrahams.

No Backup Generators at the BWA in 2017!


Energy usage by group (2010)

This week a radio commentator made the observation that if there is credit this government has earned it has to be implementing policy to encourage the installation of  photovoltaic systems by the retail and commercial customer. BU agrees with a caveat.

Based on observation the biggest consumers of electricity in Barbados must be the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) and other government departments. The acid test if the blogmaster is to give full credit to the government- the level of conversion from fossil to alternative energy by the greatest users must the key measure. The current conversion level suggest our biggest users are not fully converted, as a consequence there will be no material impact on fossil energy usage in Barbados any time in the near future.

If simple net metering was permitted, even for systems under five kilowatts, utility interactive RE systems with limited battery storage would be quite affordable. Back-feeding the grid during daytime and purchasing in the evenings would allow fewer batteries to be maintained for energy security while also reducing cycling and extending battery life.

We have three types of RE at our home. Grid tied, utility interactive (battery based) and off-grid. The off grid does not even have a battery as its a pond pump which operates only when the sun is shining on the PV. Critical appliances like our refrigerator, auxiliary water pump, lights, fans and entertainment centre were not affected by yesterdays power outage. And without the noise, fumes, maintenance and fuel requirements of a standby generator.

Check out Attic Developments Ltd Facebook page for schematic illustrations and pricing of various options.

Posted as a comment by Andrew Simpson to the No Power… No Vision

The preamble to the blog is a response to the BWA’s statement how the island wide power outage impacted their operations. To quote Joy-Ann Haigh, the Rapid Response and Communications Manager at the BWA:-

It impacted us a lot, because the pumping stations do rely heavily on the Barbados Light & Power. The tankers this morning, as a result, they have been dispatched. Of course, we needed to make sure that the emergency services were OK and then the schools, today being the first day of school for most and then everyone else afterward. Almost immediately after the power failed many, many areas lost mains water.

To BU’s way of 101 thinking,  if one of the the biggest expense items on the P&L is the BL&P energy bill, a decision should have been taken ‘everysince’ to aggressively migrate to alternative energy systems to run the operations. For the BWA spokesperson to have to publicly admit that the power outage on Monday adversely impacted operations and forced them to freight water by truck Flintstones style was as embarrassing as shit running on the South Coast in the year of our Lord 2017.

Why build a 60 million dollar building and there are no backup generators? Bear in mind the question is being asked of our water utility. Many retail consumers see the need to integrate backup power systems in homes these days which makes it a nobrainer for our water authority.

On a related note, it is also unacceptable the downtime Barbados had to experience given our reported level of investment in power generation and distribution.

Food, WATER, Shelter!



Will Anyone be Held ACCOUNTABLE for Sewage Scandal?

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, PRESIDENT, Clement Payne Movement

David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement

Who is going to hold the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) accountable for the south coast sewage crisis – an environmental and public health scandal that is threatening to destroy Barbados’ all important Tourism industry and to unleash diseases on persons who reside or work in the affected areas. And perhaps even more to the point, who is going to hold the Minister responsible for the BWA – Dr. David Estwick – and the Cabinet that he is a member of, accountable?

We Barbadians need to remind ourselves that this sewage scandal has been ongoing for well in excess of two years now! Please recall that as long ago as Thursday 22nd of October 2015 Opposition Leader Mia Mottley – speaking at the Barbados Labour Party’s Christ Church West Central candidate nomination meeting – issued a public warning that “something has gone terribly wrong with the south coast sewerage system’’, and that people who live around Graeme Hall, Christ Church were already complaining bitterly about the breakdown of the sewage system. Ms Mottley also made a pointed call to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to bestir himself and carry out an urgent investigation into the matter.

Well, the 22nd of October 2015 is exactly twenty-six and a half months ago!

As we are all aware, the duty to establish, operate and maintain public sewerage systems in Barbados resides with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), and it is a statutory duty.

The BWA is a statutory corporation that was established by the Barbados Water Authority Act, Chapter 274 A of the Laws of Barbados, and section 5 of the Act stipulates that its functions are:-

  • to prepare and submit to the Minister proposals for the establishment of efficient sewerage systems capable of meeting the need for sewerage services throughout Barbados;
  • to design, construct, provide, operate and maintain sewerage works for the purpose of receiving, treating and disposing of sewage;
  • to keep under constant review the quality, reliability, and availability of sewerage services;
  • to conduct research programmes for its purposes; and
  • to disseminate information and advice with respect to the management and treatment of sewage.

All of the evidence that is available to us points to the BWA having failed to carry out the duties and functions imposed upon it by the Barbados Water Authority Act and/or having been guilty of gross negligence in the carrying out of those duties and functions. This – it seems to me – may well be a matter that should be taken before the Law Courts of Barbados under the provisions of the Administrative Justice Act Chapter 109 B of the Laws of Barbados.

Section 6 of the Administrative Justice Act provides that “the Court may on an application for judicial review grant relief in accordance with this Act

a) to a person whose interests are adversely affected by an administrative act or omission;

b) to any other person if the Court is satisfies that that person’s application is justifiable in the public interest in the circumstances of the case.”

And the “relief” that the Court may grant includes an order of Mandamus requiring the statutory board to carry out its public duty, as well as an order for damages in money.

We Barbadians must resolve to bestir ourselves and make the effort to hold our public authorities – inclusive of Government Ministers and statutory corporations – accountable. If we fail to take steps to do so, we will only be encouraging them to engage in even more irresponsible and detrimental behaviour.

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.






Why Was Keithroy Halliday Recruited to be General Manager of the BWA?

Keithroy Halliday, GM of the BWA

Kammie Holder

23 March at 14:44 · Four Roads, Barbados ·


Dear Jeremy Stephen I note with interest the suggestion pronounced by you on Water in Barbados. However, if the 37% non revenue leakage of water is fixed and the 8WA Solar Farm is built there will be no need for a water rate increase. Corey A Lane Eric Ron Smith Maria Bradshaw David King James Paul Dale Marshall Patrick Tannis Its seems that more and more recently mainstream media seems unable or unwilling to move beyond note taking. The BWA needs to undergo a Forensic Audit on the heels of the recent rate increase. Quote me on that. Is GOB running scared of the Barbados Light & Power rumoured threat of a rate increase if they cut BWA high dependency on Light & Power?

Read the full exchange of this Facebook post

Many Facebook friends who value our opinion will tag David of BU on a daily basis. The above is one of many FB tags this one sent by Future Centre Advocate Kammie Holder. The exchanges are sometimes very informative and helps David of the BU household to be better informed as BU blogmaster..

This exchange provoked BU to ask the question, who is Keithroy Halliday, the recently installed general manager of the Barbados Water Authority. The reason why BU is curious is that we assumed the BWA would have recruited someone with a weighty track record in the business of water resource management. At minimum someone who has experience managing a large organization. To date the BU household has been unable to discover any information to support why Keithroy Halliday was recruited to the important job of General Manager of the BWA.

Minister David Estwick we need to hear you on this one.

What is the Quality of OUR Water?


Filters on the right

Barbadians received the good news this week that the volume of rainfall the island experienced in September, October and November 2016 will solve the low level in the water table in the near term. The bad news is that sewerage pipes have been leaking in the tourist belt.

Although principals at PAHO and the BWA have had to publicly refute social media reports questioning the quality of the local water, there are doubts. The management of the BWA have been assuring Barbadians the rust coloured water is as a result of sediment build up in the pipes and a 30 minute flush of the main SHOULD solve the problem.

The following note was received from a BU family member.

Have you checked the quality of your potable water recently? I just replaced my inline water filters again and as you will see in the attached photo, it is not a pretty sight.

Manufacturers recommendation for replacement of these filters is three months or 15,000 gallons. The displayed filters are reflective of only two months use.

Now get this – one filter should be enough to clean up the water supplied to a residence. I have had THREE filters installed in order to inadequately cope with water impurity. The filter on the left in the photo is a 10 micron filter for fine sediment. This was installed as a first defense. The filter on the right is 5 micron to reduce EXTRA fine sediment. These are installed before the tank. There is a third filter of 5 microns to further reduce sediment, taste and odour. This filter is not shown as it is black and offers no visible indication of its condition.

So, my question is “What is the quality of your water?”

Would the Ministry of health allow coconut vendors to sell coconut water of this quality to the public or would it be considered a health risk?

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – The Politics of Water Security

Safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are crucial for poverty reduction, crucial for sustainable development and crucial for achieving any and every one of the Millennium Development Goals. – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Jeff Cumberbatch - Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

It should be easy for most Barbadians to sympathize, or perhaps even empathize, with the plight of the residents of those local districts who have had to endure a regrettable lack of piped water to their homes in recent months. It certainly is no laughing matter when one is forced to endure the discomfort and displeasure of not being able to flush a toilet by a mere press of the plunger or unable to take a shower at the end of a long hot day. The “bathe-up” or standpipe baths and gatherings of bygone Barbados ought not to be an imperative for the contemporary taxpayer. To add insult to injury, it has been reported that bills, more than nominal in some cases, continue to be issued to these long-suffering individuals for water usage by the Barbados Water Authority.

It is equally easy, if one is so inclined, to use this unfortunate circumstance as an opportunity to bash the hapless administration in office and to classify its occurrence, as has been done by more than a few, as an example of poor governance, of poor leadership, an abdication of ministerial responsibility or a heady cocktail of all the above.

At one level, the state does bear ultimate responsibility if this “essential service” should not be supplied to all citizens without discrimination. According to several of the international conventions that we have ratified, ensuring the national supply of safe, potable water is an express state obligation. For example, under Article 24 (2)(c) of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), States parties are required to pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures: … (c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking water [Emphasis added].

And Article 14 (2) of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) mandates states parties to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas to ensure…to women the right: … [h] To enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications.” [Emphasis added]

Other conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also recognize the right to water as an international human right, obligating the state to ensure to its citizens the supply of sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.

At another level, however, the state may lawfully claim exemption from this obligation where the failure in supply is owed to circumstances such as an Act of God or nature (drought or endemic water scarcity); act or default of another for whom the state assumes no responsibility; or where the failure is otherwise exempted by law so that the claim to an absolute entitlement in any circumstance whatsoever does not arise.

So far as the first is concerned, it may very well be that this condition currently subsists, although the people from the affected districts would not be acting unreasonably to query why the onus of this drought should fall on them unequally.

Nor can the state fairly place the blame on the Barbados Water Authority that, although not constitutionally part of the Crown, bears practically a sufficiently subordinate role thereto as to be considered integrated into the state machinery.

It bears mention in this regard nevertheless, that much of the blame for the recent happenings has been placed on the inherently defective and ancient mains that are currently undergoing replacement. To the extent that this is an ongoing process stretching across the change of governing administrations, it would be clearly inequitable to place all the blame for the delayed achievement of this initiative on the current administration. The partisan ascription of blame, though perhaps electorally beneficial in future, does little to relieve the current insecurity of the affected citizens.

I accept that the figurative horse is well and truly out of the stable, and that from now until the elections bell is rung by the Prime Minister, most civic failings will be seen in a partisan light against the party that comprises the current administration. This is par for the course and, I suppose, those concerned who are far more knowledgeable than I am in these matters will seek to apply and to resist this onslaught as forcefully as may be practicable.

“It is clear that the solutions to the delivery of water and sanitation for all are fundamentally political in nature and not just technical. The need for opening the “Water Tap” for transparency, accountability and participation is vital as we face the rapid increase of urbanization and the frightening implications of climate change for our scarce water resources”-George, Nhlapo and Waldorf- “The politics of achieving the Right to water” (2011)

Who Pays the Water Bill of the Barbados Water Authority?

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

Barbados Water Authority valve on their Fort George Reservoir compound leaking water no stop for months!

The above was posted to a popular Facebook page Barbados Wall of Shame. In light of water outages especially in St. Thomas, St. John and St. Joseph and the refusal of Minister of Water David Estwick to resign the obvious management inefficiencies at the Barbados Water Authority bears severe scrutiny. BU was asked to share this story.