Marshall: Where’s the water?

Member of Parliament for St Joseph Dale Marshall wants to know if the potable water promised from the St Philip Augmentation Project by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) last Wednesday is “walking” to his constituency and other northern parishes affected by outages.

Marshall raised this concern today after residents in Lammings, Horse Hill and Sugar Hill complained to him that their taps had been dry since last Thursday.

“Only last week the assurance was given that some of the water from the St Philip Augmentation Project would have been diverted to service the hard-hit areas in St Joseph, but we have seen no relief. I do not know how long it takes water to get from St Philip to St Joseph. The water certainly cannot be walking. The water cannot be walking from
St Philip,” he told Barbados TODAY.

The former Attorney General complained that there had been very little relief since the water project was launched, adding that residents remained “very frustrated and disappointed” at the lack of progress.

St Joseph MP, Dale Marshall
St Joseph MP, Dale Marshall

“I do not know how long it takes for water to get through a series of mains from these new wells that have been dug in St Philip to the reservoirs in St Joseph, but I find the situation inexplicable given the Minister’s promises. I had hoped that having received the letter delivered by two residents from St Joseph and St Peter to acting General Manager of the BWA Dr John Mwansa there would have been some improvements, but I cannot say there has been any significant improvement.

“The promises made last week by Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick have fallen to the ground like nothing more than words . . . The assurances that have been given have not materialized and therefore my constituents and those of other eastern and northern parishes are angrier than ever,” Marshall stressed.

During a whistle stop tour of St Thomas and St Joseph in the company of Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde last month, Marshall threatened to lead a demonstration at the BWA headquarters in the Pine in protest against the frequent water outages in his constituency.

He told Barbados TODAY that plans for the march had not been abandoned and a decision would soon be made on how to progress.

“So as for what happens from here, the possibility of a protest march is still very much on the cards. I felt that it was only fair to give the authorities an opportunity to remedy the situation before escalating into a protest march, but it seems apparent that the opportunity has not been seized by them. Under these circumstances we will be making a decision as to what happens from here.”

Meanwhile, the situation has improved somewhat in St Thomas, Forde reported.

She told Barbados TODAY while residents continued to experience outages it was “not as severe” as it had been in the recent past.

“The residents have grown to live with the water outages even though it impacts on their health, dignity and even their livelihoods. We can only hope that when the St Philip Augmentation Water Project becomes fully operational we in the north will enjoy better service,” she said.

During last Wednesday’s official launch of the St Philip Water Augmentation Project at the new Groves Water Wellfield and Pumping Station in St Philip, acting BWA General manager Dr John Mwansa explained that initially residents of St Philip would benefit from the additional water supply, which would be expanded to areas of Christ Church and the north east of the island.

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