Brathwaite wants heads to roll at BWA

If Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite had his way, a number of heads would roll at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) over the sewage mess that has been impacting the south coast and parts of Bridgetown since last year.

Addressing a meeting of his Democratic Labour Party (DLP) at the Princess Margaret Secondary School last night, Brathwaite openly accused the BWA of negligence, while suggesting that managers at the statutory corporation should be sent home.

“You place the tourism sector at risk, you place people’s lives at risk and if you are fired. The union is going to keep noise. There is something wrong with that,” Brathwaite contended.

The representative for St Philip South argued that standards were on the decline at Government agencies, while singling out management at the BWA for particular mention.

“You need to punish them because they have placed this country at risk. One of the things we do badly in this country is . . .  a significant failure of management. If it was the private sector, failure of management at that magnitude, you get fired,” Brathwaite emphasized.

His comments came on the heels of concerns expressed by a senior water management official that the south coast and Bridgetown sewage systems were on the brink of a disastrous collapse.

The official, who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, all but confirmed assertions by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley of faulty diffusers that had not been maintained in over seven years and that Government had ignored an offer from the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to finance rehabilitation of both systems, and to build one for the west coast.

According to the source, the entire sewage outfall at the Bridgetown treatment plant was about to fall apart while the south coast plant, which was at the heart of a recent sewage mess due to stench emanating from effluent overflow,  had already failed with untreated sewage now being pumped around the south coast plant and out to sea.

Complaining that the ruling DLP had become the cleanup crew for national issues, Brathwaite stood by the decisions made by his colleague, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick, under whose watch a shake-up of the BWA’s management team was recently announced.

The plan, which is yet to be fully implemented, will see to the removal of BWA General Manager Dr John Mwansa from the helm of the statutory corporation, as well as other key administrative changes.

However, in Estwick’s defence, Brathwaite said his colleague was not to blame for either the sewage problem or the recent water outages across the island.

“The problem wasn’t created by him as minister or by us as a Government, but by silence,” he said.

He insisted that “blame lies with the management of the Barbados Water Authority” and its failure over a number of years to address those issues, adding, “but we will have to deal with it”.

18 Responses to Brathwaite wants heads to roll at BWA

  1. Hal Austin January 31, 2017 at 3:22 am

    This grossly incompetent and, yo my mind, undemocratic and negligent attorney general is right about the mis-management at the BWA.
    But his main responsibilities at his ministries: the chaotic criminal justice system; the crisis in the court administration; the pile up of cases in the civil courts; his failure to manage the Guyana-born DPP; the list goes on.
    It is true that his fellow St |Philip MP, Mr Estwick, has not got a grip on the water crisis, neither how to deal with the immediacy of the problem, nor plans for the future.
    All tis on top of a six-storey white elephant in the Pine as its headquarters.
    Mr Brathwaite’s outburst is just the latest of a number of renegade Cabinets members positioning themselves for the forthcoming general election.
    They have abandoned governing the nation.

    • Gearbox1964 January 31, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Thank you Hal. Yes, he is right about the poor management of BWA and the sewage problem, but he is just as guilty of not managing his portfolio properly. He is the man who is never aware of this and never aware of that. Just a pack of clowns in Fundel Stuart Administration. Why don’t they just do us all a favour and ring de bell?

  2. ch January 31, 2017 at 3:50 am

    I’m confused.
    Is the BWA responsible for the urgent and ignored revisions needed in the criminal justice system of this country? Legal reforms in areas of domestic and child abuse?
    Legislation and enactment of breathalyzer tests and hard penalties for dangerous driving on our roads?
    Upgrading the infrastructure, training and morale of the RBPF?
    If not, have a seat…

  3. Jennifer January 31, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Here we go again with this one man band garbage. This ignorant talk to more than likely ignorant people, shows that all of you are NOT singing from the same song sheet. If not heads will roll and managers will be sent home. THIS IS LIKE SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FOOT or should I say the MOUTH. Why is MR Estwick not saying what you are saying, (and then you defending him) are all of you not drinking in the rum shop together??????

    Or maybe just hush DO YOUR JOB.

  4. Jennifer January 31, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Stick to your portfolio, talk about your failings and what you intend to do to correct them. Unless you do not think you have any and should with someone else’s.

  5. Bill January 31, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Was the management of the BWA provided with the finances needed to fix the problems of the BWA! If not how can you blame the management for the near collapse of the system! It seems that these guys are being used as the fall guys. Time for taking has long past urgent action is required and the resources must be secured to do the job NOW. Failure is likely to devestate the tourist industry and by extension the Barbados economy leading to the devaluation of the dollar and twenty-five years of suffering for the people of this land which we love so much.

  6. Alana B January 31, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I continue to hear about the Guyana born DPP. What is the real issue with the DPP? Is the issue his nationality? Is the issue the manner in which he carries out his duties and responsibilities? I am really fed up hearing the continuous rant about ‘the Guyana born DPP. There are others who are equally as fed up or even angry by the calling out of the individual’s nationality. Many Barbadians function outside of Barbados at high levels but I cannot recall persons putting a nationality behind office holders to make any valid point. So what if he is Guyanese? I am not Guyanese. We who live in this part of the Globe are sounding like the new President elect. He too want immigrants from certain countries gone too. We continue to make statements which are not necessary. Now is not the time to discriminate based on ones nationality, race, ethnic origin or even gender. We need to do better, act better, live better and treat with each other better.

    Further, if we do not really understand that, then understand that the “Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has warned that US President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to the US for the predominantly Muslim nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may extend to the Caribbean”.

    We have real issues to deal with and we cannot continue to be myopic only because it is politically expedient to do so.


  7. Hal Austin January 31, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Alana B

    Guyana-born is a statement of fact. Some of us are called West Indians, Caribbean-born, Barbados-born, Barbadians…….all statements of fact.
    When they call our children first generation immigrants, that is different. Trump is a first generation immigrant.

  8. Alex Alleyne January 31, 2017 at 8:32 am

    No problem there , but make sure yours in the mix.

  9. Alana B January 31, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Hall Austin

    He is a qualified holder of the office he functions in. Have respect for the office holder and desist from appearing to be one who discriminates based on nationality! The DPP has the necessary working papers to perform his duties and responsibilities!!!

  10. Sam Pillie January 31, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I totally agreed with the Minister who is trying to secure his seat in the next election.

    As a Bajan when I heard Mr. Mwansa said last year that there is no solution at hand to providing everyone with water at Christmas in Barbados, I myself wanted to FIRE him.

    When the BWA Management announce last year that there was no water because of low rain-falls, then later said that the pumps were faulty after we got plenty of rain I wanted to fire him again.

    When pumps failed at a reservoir supplying water to St. Peter and technicians installed a new pump without correcting the earthing problem and destroyed the new pump. I thought that management should be retired.

    And last but not lease, when raw sewerage was traveling through the streets of the south-coast, I thought that the Management and the Board should be fired by the Minister responsible or the Prime Minister for trying to run the tourist and mistreating the locals.

    Those failing items above show all Barbadians that NO maintenance at all is being performed and what the Management staff of the BWA was doing is taking salaries and not performing their duties. There is something called Preventative Maintenance!

  11. jrsmith January 31, 2017 at 9:55 am

    There is an old saying ,what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas , meaning this we/ us Barbados dont get involve with whats happening in the (USA) just stay out of it….

    You people think the (Donald ) is stupid wait and see…..

  12. jrsmith January 31, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Sorry people I have messed up………….. wrong issue…….

  13. Bill January 31, 2017 at 9:59 am

    My question still stands, did the management at the BWA have the resources to carry out the maintenance and upgrades necessary to do the job

  14. Hal Austin January 31, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Alana B

    Thanks for that lesson in good manners. In future I will be more deferential.
    Plse tell the papers to refrain from using the nationality of people apprehended for breaking the law since it encourages discrimination based on nationality.
    I am not sure what working papers the Guyana-born DPP has, but is he really carrying out his duties competently?

  15. Clyde Thompson January 31, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I must compliment Mr. Brathwaite’s desire that heads roll at the BWA.
    It is so obvious that there was and probably still is gross negligence by the management of the BWA, a non-existent maintenance program is the cause of what could have been catastrophic failure of the entire system compromising the health of the nearby residents.
    The union would be as guilty as the management if they caused any disruption when the heads go rolling, good call Mr. Brathwaite.

  16. Ann Thomas January 31, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you Attorney General for your crystal clear analysis of the situation at the BWA, and of course for joining the “don’t blame us” crew.

    Well here’s the thing, Mr. Minister, you and your colleagues are responsible for setting policy and securing the funds to execute those policies. So, in you come and mismanage the economy so badly that nothing gets done. There is no money, it appears, even do the basics.

    It is not acceptable for you to come and lay the blame at the feet of public servants who depend on Ministers for policy direction and on those same Ministers to secure funds for policies to be implemented. Additionally, in the case of the BWA there is a Board, with a Chairman, a political appointee, who is meant to ensure that the Minister’s policy is implemented by management.

    So why not put the blame where it properly belongs, the Minister and the Chairman. This minister, has promised so many policies, both on water and agriculture, that the average person has lost count. Not one has been implemented. Not one!

    Instead, we get half way measures shored up by more promises.

    Attorney General, while you are at it, examine the various messes in your Departments and let us know if you should be fired as well.

  17. Tony Waterman February 1, 2017 at 3:05 am

    “If Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite had his way, a number of heads would roll at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) over the sewage mess that has been impacting the south coast and parts of Bridgetown since last year.”

    Pure Posturing, iam quite sure that he is glad he not in the position to have to fire one ot two or three of his Friends.


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