Belle warns of political fallout from water crisis

A strong word of warning today to the Freundel Stuart administration that it needs to provide immediate answers to the people of Barbados on the country’s deepening water crisis.

With residents in several communities across the island currently crying out for relief from water woes, political scientist Dr George Belle has cautioned Government that the matter has now moved beyond the issue of managing and distributing water supplies.

In fact, he told Barbados TODAY it was now a serious political issue; one which strikes at the heart of this country’s governance system.

“It is a problem of national proportions and that is what a Government is there to deal with,” said Belle, who warned that even though the issue may not be enough to break the back of the current Democratic Labour Party regime, it could result in major political fallout as a result.

“You cannot deal with it on the basis of just a managerial approach that it is being addressed and that type of thing. You have to engage it as an emergency impacting on people’s lives in critical areas and that you have a responsibility as their representative to do something about it,” said Belle.

He stressed that while medium to long-term solutions could be dealt with in a managerial way, creative and imaginative political action was needed in the short term to quell the immediate concerns.

“It [the water crisis] is being treated as a managerial problem and not a political problem and it is a political problem because it is a problem now of governance that is impacting immediately on people’s lives in a critical and serious way.

“So therefore, you need leadership at the level of the society, and that is what a Government is there to do and it has to be creative and imaginative in situations like this, because normal things will not bring the solution quickly and people need the solution quickly,” Belle argued, while pointing out that “you don’t drink water in three months time, you drink water now”.

His comments came ahead of a press conference scheduled for tomorrow by the Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick in response to the worsening water woes that have made the entire Government — including the state-run Barbados Water Authority (BWA) — appear incompetent.

Back in April, the minister had rolled out a programme to address the water outages affecting northern parishes.

He revealed back then that BWA officials had settled on two contractors to build two permanent desalination plants.

While blaming the prolonged outages on a persistent drought, Dr Estwick had also announced that he had given permission to the Board of Directors of the BWA to ask that the desalination plant that already exists “carries itself to the maximum” and that Williams Industries expands the present desalination plant output by as much as three million gallons.

He had also given residents of St Joseph, parts of St Thomas, St Andrew and St Peter the assurance that with the completion of the well at Sweet Vale, St George the water feeding into the Castle Grant Reservoir would address the water outages in those areas.

However, so far sustained relief has not been forthcoming, even as other districts have been added to the list of BWA casualties.

4 Responses to Belle warns of political fallout from water crisis

  1. Brien King
    Brien King October 7, 2016 at 5:11 am

    What the BWA can be faulted for in this crisis is the lack of water tankers to the effected areas and letting the public know what was going on, in terms of what was causing the water outage, and what was being done to fix it after investigations were finished. The Minister, hearing the cry of the effected people, should have gotten on the backs of management about the water tankers and the public announcements about the matter. Outside of these, nothing more can be realistically required because of the process of fixing the matter and the issues that may arise from time to time in the process of fixing the matter. For new wells and new mains to be place , it has to be understood that it will take time, though the effected folks want immediate relief from their suffering, who can blame them ? But with out being real in these matters, you would be living a fantasy expecting that which would not occur.
    As for political matters, the Dlp appears slated to lose the government but it is the new form government that will produce some surprises for the people, only a few are aware of the possibilities.

  2. jrsmith October 7, 2016 at 6:03 am

    The failure of the government ,the failure of the minister and the failure of the voters ,to stand and be firm to this non productive government…this water problem is to be blame on the fact that the infrastructure was never upgraded in the past 3 decades , by the 2 parties because we had no one with the expected vision of the future…
    At the present time what the minister and the government has done , is to gradually draw themselves away from the problem and the confrontation of the people and left the burden solely on the(BWA).. Who is really in charge at of the (BWA)…

  3. Hal Austin October 7, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Why doesn’t the govt impose a national emergency and put restrictions in place? T|his is elementary.

  4. BoboTheClown October 7, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Enough is enough. It is quite clear that the Government is not doing enough to alleviate the water problems that are besetting many many Barbadians. It does appear that this is not a priority for this Government.The hardships being felt by many is shameful.
    This has gone on far too long with no immediate signs of any resolution .
    This is the type of thing we would expect in Haiti, not Barbados .It is obvious that Barbadians are very passive,reserved and contented to be used as a door mats by the said Politicians that they have elected to serve them.If we the people don’t rise up against this group of fat cats ,who seem quite contented with they approach, we’ll suffer even more. It is time to forget Party and favorites and vote common sense. There is an election coming ,don’t be fooled by promises that can’t and won’t be met.Don’t be hood winked by Politicians that are fleecing the general public for they own gain. This Government need to be taught a lesson. Phrasing Donald Trumps “what do you have to loose”. May be your sanity.


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