Costly stink

Sewage fix could take a while

It could be another three months before the sewage problem on the south coast is fully rectified.

Barbados TODAY understands that while a short-term solution is already in the works, it will call for the importation of a special piece of equipment that could take up March to arrive here and be installed.

“You have to remember that a sewerage treatment plant is not an air conditioning unit, therefore all the necessary repairs cannot happen right way,” said one official, who pointed out that there were issues with all three parts of the south coast sewerage system, namely the collection system, the processing plant and the outfall pipes.

Other sources close to the official discussions have also revealed to Barbados TODAY that the equipment purchase is to be funded through the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc, but they did not want to go into further detail on the matter, even though they reported that the Barbados Water Authority was currently short on cash and therefore was not in a position to carry out the necessary maintenance, which is said to be a contributory factor to the current problem of sewage leaking out onto the streets.

Government Senator Harry Husbands yesterday revealed that south coast problem would cost Government $1 billion to fix.

Government Senator Harry Husbands yesterday revealed that south coast problem would cost Government $1 billion to fix.

Speaking during debate in the Upper Chamber, Husbands further revealed that the Social Partnership – which comprises Government, the private sector and the labour unions – was recently summoned to a meeting, at which “item one on the agenda was the issue of the challenges with sewage on the south coast”.

“The people at the [Barbados] Water Authority, the Manager and the Chief Engineer, reported what it would cost, not only the South Coast Sewerage Project, but the entire cost of rebuilding the entire water system that was allowed to fall into disrepair under the [former] Barbados Labour Party [administration], they said it would cost $1 billion.

“I want to say that we had, at the level of the Social Partnership, full discussion on this issue of sewage on the south coast [and] even on the west coast. The meeting was that far,” said Husbands, the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Education.

He said in addition to asking some “detailed and pointed questions” the private sector and labour union representatives put forward some solutions that were “taken on board” as Government “sets about to get the corrective work done”.

“As a result of those discussions at the Social Partnership the resources have been mobilized to deal with this issue on the south coast of Barbados. I am confident that the Government has taken the correct approach in dealing with this matter,” he added.

He was responding to accusations levelled by Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) spokesman on the environment Senator Wilfred Abrahams during debate on a resolution for the compulsory acquisition of land by Government in the Upper Collymore Rock area to build a roundabout.

Accusing Government of trivializing the problem, Abrahams said it was time that the Freundel Stuart administration explain exactly what the problem was and what was being done to correct it.

The BLP spokesman also suggested that the land acquisition was “optional” and therefore should not take precedence over the sewage problem, or for that matter, the current shortage of garbage trucks or the recent drought affecting the island.

Describing the sewage situation as “catastrophic” and bordering on “dangerous”, Abrahams said: “The people need reassurance from their Government that the matter is being taken seriously and steps are being taken to correct it. The tourists need that reassurance too.

“It is not good enough to say we are looking at it. By now the problem should have been identified to the point where somebody in authority can come out and say this is what the problem is.”

Stressing the need for firm action to resolve the issues emanating from the South Coast Sewerage Project, which have resulted in effluent flowing onto the streets, he said: “Lip service does not do anybody any good. We need to see action on this and a conclusive statement from somebody in authority as to what is being done and when you expect it is going to be cleared up . . .

“I am afraid that somebody or a collection of people get sick as a result of this. This situation, coupled with water shortages is a recipe for disaster.”

However, Government Senators Maxine McClean and Andre Worrell joined with Husbands in dismissing Abrahams’ concerns.

In fact, Worrell accused Abrahams of engaging in “histrionics” while advising that he should instead “sit back and try to understand and stop trying to feed fear and doubt” to the Barbadian public.

“I just want to urge that we get away from this dramatic form of politics and we start talking facts and start preaching solutions about things that will help to turn this country around,” advised Worrell during Wednesday’s Senate debate in which independent Senator Sir Roy Trotman also raised concern that “not enough public statements” were being made by Government on pertinent matters.


marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

18 Responses to Costly stink

  1. Natalia Reid
    Natalia Reid December 16, 2016 at 3:52 am

    But there wasn’t a problem, there was never a sewage issue, according to Richard Sealy…people been complaining about this sewage issue since last year, well, I heard more complaints last year, and only increased complaints after the.heavy rains last month, and now, in the tourist season, the biggest chance of this country making money, it becomes a problem and it’s gonna take almost the entire season to fix? Gotcha…I’m just a layman tho, I ain’t learned like these people

    Reply
  2. Tony Webster December 16, 2016 at 4:18 am

    How easy to get a few inconvenient but truthful facts…prised out of the mouths of the “relevant authorities”!! With the South Coast tourism, restaurant, and other commercial activity clearly at risk…it takes an underling in the Min. education, to spill the beans which the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources- or the Prime Minister- should have the backbone to admit.

    The only folks the Dems have not yet blamed for their incompetence…is those wuffless , departing Brits.

    No shame; no pride; and industry is on vacation…somewhere else without a sewage crisis.

    Reply
  3. Veronica Marriott
    Veronica Marriott December 16, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Not good enough I’m going to cancel my trip c

    Reply
  4. Colin Daniel December 16, 2016 at 7:48 am

    $1B to fix. This is more it costs to install the whole system. The number does not smell right

    Reply
  5. Peter December 16, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Will this escalate to a point where businesses on the south coast litigate against the government for loss of revenue? I see we may have another Barak situation on our hands. I wonder what excuse will be used,

    Reply
  6. Jeanne December 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

    My husband and I were in Barbados November 17- December 5. We stayed in an apartment behind Mojo’s. on the evening of November 29th we had to wade through water that was almost to our knees to get down the flooded street to our apartment. The only souvenirs we brought home with us was a hookworm! Each of us had to take doses of Ivermectin to get rid of the parasite. My husband spoke with the Minister of Health at the sluice gate on Worhting Beach during one of his visits to the site and was told the water was just brown from the tannin in the leaves from the mangroves and that the water was safe. Sure it was…..

    Reply
  7. USA Visitor December 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    You need to hire TRUMP to fix it fast and under budget. OK it just a Joke!
    The cost quoted by the Barbados Labor Party [administration], they said it would cost $1 billion. Is intended to scare the Barbados people so the politicians’ can cover their incompetence and delay the repair. Why not just fix the existing system instead of tearing it out and making a new one.

    Reply
  8. jrsmith December 16, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    This just shows the caliber of people who we expect to run barbados government , very sad,
    If I may recall I would like to be corrected, I though that a minister made a comment that another sewage installation on the west coast which was install now 15 years has never work as an efficient unit either and he was an engineer , in government and couldn’t put the matter right..
    If this is going to costs a billion dollars to put right , you may as well design and build a new system…
    This stinks ,this warrants a public inquiry this is so scandalous and corrupt

    Reply
  9. John Walmark December 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    We have been travelling to Barbados annually for 20 years from Canada. Barbados has been our home away from home when on vacation .We have stayed every year on the South Coast , and spending close to $10,000 US on each trip. Im sure we are no alone in having Barbados our primary vacation place. Great People , Good accommodation pristine beaches and outstanding weather . this past Nov was 2 weeks of sewage on Worthing Beach and we had no place to go ….. Our plan was to return in the spring but we will now stay further up the west coast . Until we are assured the sewage and any health concerns are addressed, we will give The South Coast a pass . That is very unfortunate for The Businesses on South Coast but our health is a primary concern .
    Thought you should hear from more of us tourists. Residents don’t have a choice which is very troubling as well.
    John F Walmark
    1602 Lincolnshire Blvd
    Mississauga On Canada
    L5E2S7

    Reply
    • Peter December 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Mr. Walmark, Im no politician nor political spokesperson. But as a concerned Barbadian, I truly apologize to you and your wife for this holiday catastrophe. I have a friend who is a retired British Judge. He traveled to Barbados with his wife on Concord, alongside another close friend who is connected to the ownership of the Cadbury chocolate empire. They both love Barbados and promised me that they will always return albeit they now owns properties in Sandy Lane. John, Please do not disrupt your Bajan holiday addiction (for want of a better word) Do come back. Enjoy our friendly folk, our cooking, our culture, and most of all our warm warers and sunny sandy beaches. You have traveled all the way from Canada, you can hop on a bus or take a cab or even bum a ride to the west coast to relax and sip a cold Banks, or Rum and Coke. Welcome back Bro. John.

      Reply
  10. Michelle December 16, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I’m thinking our entire extended family vacation for a month and plan for a wedding there in Feb may be cancelled, because we have children and babies.. We can’t risk their health! The situation is serious, and due to many experiences and much time there, I know that it really could be as bad as it sounds. Last year, simply walking down the sidewalk in Hastings, I stepped in a wooden hole cover that must have been put back upside down. There were long nails sticking out, and one punctured almost through my entire foot. The nails were rusty and brown- matching the wood and impossible to see. That should not have happened!

    Reply
  11. John Walmark December 16, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Peter, thanks for the thoughtful note above! We are back in April for 3 weeks . we wont be on the South Coast though. we have booked on the West Coast near Payne’s Bays . I forgot to tell you that we are almost Bajans… we meet and had dinner with the former Prime Minister the year before he died. We wont give up on B ‘dos ,,, is great food and amazing people we have known over these many years. The biggest asset Barbados has is the pristine beaches …. Lets hope the pressure we put on the government will help affect the will power to correct the damage to the sea, its people and the great businesses on the South Coast. let connect for a banks in April… we are there April 3 to 24 …
    cheers Bro
    jfwalmark@hotmail.com

    Reply
  12. Jeanne December 16, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    My husband and I visited Barbados for the 20th time November 17- December 5th. We are coming back in April and again in November of 2017. We hope Worthing Beach will be clean and sanitary enough to swim in. We love Barbados and its people- we won’t give up! We do feel bad for the businesses along the south coast. Hopefully the powers that be will get the problem resolved.

    Reply
  13. KB December 16, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    again BT headlines do not tell the entire story,……….based on the quote in this article the $1B is not only to fix the south coast sewage problem, but rebuilding the entire water system that was allowed to fall into disrepair………it’s worst that we thought

    Reply
    • John Walmark December 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      agreed . Barbados is known for pristine beaches and you can drink water from the tap….. Lets hope ….

      Reply
    • Sunil Brome December 17, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      KB do you understand what 1 Billion dollars is? The intial project was nowhere close to this…We the people need to start questioning these things and stop accepting everything said.

      Reply
  14. Troy December 17, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    “Order through Chaos”
    Hey guys let’s wait until the situation gets worst so we can get our hands on 1 billion dollars. We’ll use half of it to fix the problem then we’ll pocket the rest. As we have done before. Don’t worry the opposition will kick up at first then go silent, also the people of Barbados as too passive to take action. All in favour ….?

    Reply
    • Sunil Brome December 17, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      This is more like it!

      Reply

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