Water row

BWA chairman and GM at odds over measures to save company

More than 250 employees of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) could lose their jobs, and Barbadians could be forced to pay more for water, if the state-own entity’s new boss has his way.

General Manager Keithroy Halliday, who has already slapped a freeze on hiring, is warning that these measures are necessary for the water company to survive.

In a 25-page document entitled Barbados Water Authority General Manager’s Briefing Notes for Minister, Halliday recommended several measures to reduce costs, including a shorter work week and a shift system.

Keithroy Halliday

“The BWA needs to reduce the staff complement over a three year period by one fourth through restructuring and early retirement packages. BWA needs to put in place a shift system to effect a reduction in overtime costs by 50 per cent. The BWA will consider reducing staffing costs by introducing four-day work weeks and part-time employment where possible. BWA has informally placed a freeze on hiring,” the new boss told Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick in the document, a copy of which was obtained by Barbados TODAY.

Halliday, who only took up office in February this year, did not sugar coat the financial predicament of the island’s sole drinking water provider. Following his recent assessment of the company’s operations since succeeding Dr John Mwansa, who had acted in the position, the new general manager said the water company was projecting a net loss ranging from $19 million to $27 million, and a cash deficit of between $49 million and $127 million for 2018-2020.

“The sum result of the various recent undertakings described in this brief, made in an effort to allow the BWA to procure sufficient water for the foreseeable future, has negatively impacted on its current monthly cash outlay by approximately $3.2 million. This has therefore reduced the BWA’s ability to meet and service capital investments, some financial and all operational activities. To that end, the BWA will be seriously challenged to survive the foreseeable future, unless [his recommendations were implemented,” Halliday cautioned.

The water company boss strongly suggested slashing operational expenses by over 50 per cent, quadrupling of Government’s subvention in the upcoming year, and significant refinancing of all investment and financial activities requiring significant monthly cash flow outlays or debt servicing.

“The BWA is proposing an increase in the tariffs to generate a minimum of an additional $2.5 million monthly or $30 million annually,” the new boss added.

If Halliday gets his way, customers will have their water bills go up by 25 per cent under one of four methods of calculating a rate hike.

The proposal is for consumers to be billed an additional $24.80 for the first eight cubic metres of water and $116.60 for the next 20 cubic metres, with the final tier of 40 cubic metres remaining at the current $311.20.

The general manager is proposing that commercial customers who are currently charged a rate of $4.66 per cubic meter once the calculated charge exceeds $32.00, should now have to pay $5.83 per cubic metre, with the rate for the Barbados Port Authority to rise from $8.08 to $10.10.

He said a preliminary analysis suggested that all customers should pay a basic connection service charge.

However, Chairman of the board Dr Atlee Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY Monday evening he could not fully support the general manager’s medicine, because it was too strong for a Government-run entity.

Dr Atlee Brathwaite

Brathwaite said while he acknowledged that measures had to be taken to ensure the company remained in business, the implementation of any drastic strategies at this time had to be carefully thought through, with consumers and workers in mind.

“I will not support any such stringent measures at this stage. What I will support is to see to what extent we can enhance productivity and try to employ a 24 hour service. What we will also need to do is manage any overtime. We cannot get away from overtime because of the fact that we do not have a 24 hour service. But certainly I will find it extremely difficult to take that strong medicine at this stage,” Brathwaite said.

“As an economist I will understand that there are certain measures that have to be taken. But we have to be cognizant of the fact that those measures will impact negatively on our customers and indeed we also have to recognize that any drastic action would certainly affect the welfare of our employees,” the BWA chairman added.


32 Responses to Water row

  1. Caroline Eastmond
    Caroline Eastmond May 30, 2017 at 12:02 am

    And salaries ain’t going up how de hell we bajans is to survive the ministers get back them 10% and the poor people suffering

  2. Shawn Pablo
    Shawn Pablo May 30, 2017 at 12:30 am

    so this net loss ranging from $19 million to $27 million, John public will have to pay more for water to top this bill he proposing ? so these rate he estimated is for domestic consumers what About the rates for commercial users people with farms , crop gardens and business no offence people these is thing we ought to know .

  3. Bobby Gilkes
    Bobby Gilkes May 30, 2017 at 12:33 am

    I really trying to understanf how the only water company making a lose …..

    • Boyce Jr Angus
      Boyce Jr Angus May 30, 2017 at 12:46 am

      I too am at a loss on how that is happening …..smh…

    • Gittens Hallam
      Gittens Hallam May 30, 2017 at 12:53 am

      Look in his pocket yuh may find the missing funds

    • Noelle Slinky
      Noelle Slinky May 30, 2017 at 1:58 am

      It wouldn’t surprise me if it was down to two things: outmoded systems of management and mismanaged funds. An audit would answer both – when was the BWA last audited?

  4. Martine Boyer
    Martine Boyer May 30, 2017 at 1:21 am

    State-own or state-owned?

  5. Kathy Squires
    Kathy Squires May 30, 2017 at 1:37 am

    If he loss his job and then raise his water bill (maybe) he understand.

  6. Denise Blackman
    Denise Blackman May 30, 2017 at 1:44 am

    To this is what them bring you about her to do? You are a mean person, but God is not sleeping.

    • Buddy Love
      Buddy Love May 30, 2017 at 2:22 am

      Do you really believe that if the God the slave masters from Europe introduced to the slaves to keep them in check, did exisit, he would be concern with you not having water when there are so many innocent cgildren, men and women suffering in the world for so many hundred of years? Do you not see while you wait Barbados burns?

      • The Elephant May 30, 2017 at 7:16 am

        And before He was the God of “slave masters” men who are also slaves to their own evil hearts, He was God of all creation, being around long before the discovery of the “new world” where after millions of slaves came to make the region and the West what it is today. Even though many suffered It was not at the hands of God but at the hands of other men driven by their evil hearts, greed, and power, traits we see in many even today!
        Barbados today is what it is because of the institution of slavery…could we have achieved anything unless our ancestors went through such hardship. Generations later many “slaves” offsprings are prospering and though we may not know the original tree from which we fell we know we are all one kind in a land which we call our own. He is God over all including unbelievers and contrary to popular belief most of the suffering we go through is as result of somebody else’s ill intentions because God has given us free will to choose and make decisions, you can choose good or evil, you can choose to believe or not to believe. Essentially the choice is yours but your life is not your own you cannot make one of your “own” hairs to turn white, and you cannot extend your life one day beyond when it is required of you by God, but yet we have become proud slaves of somebody else’s mind.

        The [spiritually ignorant] fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed repulsive and unspeakable deeds; There is no one who does good.The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of men To see if there are any who understand (act wisely), Who [truly] seek after God, [longing for His wisdom and guidance]. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. Have all the workers of wickedness and injustice no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord? There they tremble with great fear, For God is with the [consistently] righteous generation. You [evildoers] shamefully plan against the poor, But the Lord is his safe refuge.
        Without faith, it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

  7. Mr. Crowley May 30, 2017 at 2:10 am

    It took me a while but I finally figured out this little island Barbados. On the surface it appears to be an enigma of sorts …a mass of contradictions and confusion, but on further examination nothing could be further from the truth. There’s an old adage in the casino business: the “House” always wins. Well folks, sit up and pay attention. Your island may be small but it has a very large casino and the political class is running it. Sorry to say but you the citizens are the players. Every four years you all march to the poles, as expected, to elect your new casino bosses hoping that maybe the rules of the game will change in your favour. Don’t hold your breath. What does this have to do with the above mentioned Water Authority Article? Remember in March –April 2015, the new $44 million Barbados Water Authority complex at Pine Hill, St Michael was completed. All these financial woes of the Authority and we just had to construct a spanking new multi-million dollar facility. That has surely gone a long way in mitigating the water woes of Barbadians…or has it? One thing is for sure……it definitely has helped mitigate the financial woes of the casino. Thank God you are an educated people and know how to take instructions and follow the rules. If I was a gambling man I would definitely take my chances on your lovely little island.

    • islandgal May 30, 2017 at 10:39 am

      You have hit the nail on the head Mr. Crowley. The electorate will be had over and over again. They won’t learn at all!

      • Leroy May 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm

        Lots of that $ went into a few persons pockets?

        1. A full audit is necessary
        2. They could have gone and sit down with the union and negotiated retiring for some employees and work hours and checked in with Fair trading for rate increases to put this company on sound footing but they built an expensive building. like WTH!!

        shafting bajans over and over again.

  8. jrsmith May 30, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Bajans try this on for size, most bajans is still paying for water they never had, but come out of the box ask the question why this hit on bajans from the water authority now..also why the present government is waiting until just before a coming general election to announce 250 jobs losses………………..
    This is a real (deflection from a serious serious problem ) after the last (Audit General’s ) report , where 800 millions Bds dollars , cannot be accounted for, the (Audit General ) is here again telling us the present Government is up to they tricks again , giving people money without paper trails , this is crooked and corrupt ..
    What we need now is ask the (FBI ) ( CID ) and the (Mounties ) to please help our nation …….
    This is a note to the (BLP) you must now show you are a credible opposition , or else you have no chance of winning the next election…. the (DLP) has gotten away before and they should not get away again…………

    The water issue is a cover………………………………………………..

  9. Tony Webster May 30, 2017 at 5:46 am

    I don’t mind paying for anything as precious as water.

    I don’t mind paying a fair price, whatever, provided on this is based on an efficient process.

    I dont even mind buying the commodity, even if a monopoly is involved, provided it is subject to idependent oversight , and is regulated properly, by the likes of the P.U.B. , or the F.T.C.- and by Mr. Leigh Trotman.

    I however will move heaven and earth, to bring Christian understanding to anyone who teks me for a joke, and and squanders my pension, (after raising rates by 60% …’just so”)…and I shall not easily forgive anyone complicit in such tom-foolery , or worse yet, malfeasance and/or gross incompetence and/or negligence

    Bajans, the scales are falling off your eyes. Look; see the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Turn-on yuh brain; and do what is necessary.

  10. eddy murray May 30, 2017 at 7:38 am

    I ask the question why should I be pay more for your losses?

  11. Troy May 30, 2017 at 9:08 am

    No wonder the water has this rusty colour at times…….too much “steal in dey”

  12. gloria May 30, 2017 at 9:28 am

    All of these people that are brought in to run our companies getting big salaries with attachment to them ad we the workers have not seen a salary increase for over almost 8 years every day more and more taxes adding to us which is making our salaries more lesser and lesser and come today it is going to be worst civil servants we need to set our minds to act and don’t let the gimics come with no more tricks time for the who bunchs of them to go and live on the pension that they wanted and have gotton it let try some one else time is of thee essence. I am sure that most of us have to live on pay day to pay day before time were you could have let something in the purse until next pay date you can no longer do that the taxpayers money that was pump into Clico for the rich and the famous to live big off and all like now we cannot get our monies some person have died and have not gotton a cent all we are getting is lies – lies- and more lies to live on and you all asking us to give you all another turn the only turn I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE WHOLE BUNCH OF YOU IN IS A HOLE AND COVER UP THE WORST GOVERNMENT WE HAVE SEEN IN OUR LIVES

  13. bob May 30, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Go back to trinne

  14. Donild Trimp May 30, 2017 at 9:32 am

    “The BWA needs to reduce the staff complement over a three year period by one fourth through restructuring and early retirement packages. BWA needs to put in place a shift system to effect a reduction in overtime costs by 50 per cent. The BWA will consider reducing staffing costs by introducing four-day work weeks and part-time employment where possible”

    I have been saying this for months now and finally someone with balls is saying the same thing, the only difference is that Mr.Halliday is saying it in a diplomatic way.

    If the BWA is to survive, the entitlement mentality in Barbados must be eradicated. No more free water and people paying below average rates for water.

    Cut out the wastage. Send home the dead-weights who are drawing a salary by fraud collecting overtime pay for doing nothing. Damaged pipes spewing and wasting water for days and the lazy workers and management not doing anything about it.

    Enough is enough. Good start Mr.Halliday.

  15. Milli Watt May 30, 2017 at 9:32 am

    “As an economist “……….I remember Brathwaite from the sugar industry and that ain’t end well. Man would not go from bout de place at all. The manager right Brathwaite and the politics that put he dey refuse to do what this man doing. I want to know if Halliday will essentially become a scape goat part of a larger election game spinning the DLP and Minister as a saviour of the people sssttttuuupppsssseeeeeeeeeeeeeee my word!!!!!!!!!!!! and we continue to LEAK MONEY

  16. tedd May 30, 2017 at 10:29 am

    this proposed 25% rise and the last 60% rise came with the acknowledgment that BWA looses 50% of the water it pumps. so to break even we the consumer must pay twice as much as we should ( the water we use and the water that leaks out).

    it is also heartless to believe that a man with a good salary would think of raising the price of the basic 8 cubic meters. I personally believe that that 8 cubic meters should be free as basic water is essential to live and not die. there are no stand pipes to offer a reprieve for those suffering from unemployment.

    consumers should no be tortured by a wasteful and inefficient entity.

    • allison archer May 30, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      what can we do tedd, there is no justice on earth for us
      leaders are allowed to do as they please and we must accept it

      use to hear many a time how the workers will be gloating on the amount of overtime money they received when these said works should be completed during working hours
      on the roads gallons of water being wasted due to archaic pipes and adequate time response

      meters newly introduce and subtlety my charge for the precious commodity is being raised every month though there is no change to my household

      they are outsourcing the middle class then only the rich and the poor will exist and we know ALL laws are made to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor

  17. tedd May 30, 2017 at 10:33 am

    another issue is that with the capital projects such as the use solar and wind power to pump the water. how much of the savings from reduced electric costs will we get? is it a 50/50 sharing that the consumers and BWA will have or is it 100%BWA and the consumers get an empty promise of not another 60% rate rise?

    but then again profit sharing and productivity benefits sharing is not a part of our culture.

  18. Tony Webster May 30, 2017 at 10:59 am

    May I please compliment Dr. Brathwaite, in his capacity as a political appointee as chair of the B.W.A. board, on his demonstrated capacity to speak from all three comers of his mouth….simultaneously.

    Amazing. Could we perhaps nominate him, and his Minister, for a Nobel Laureate, as both can evidently walk on water. Or at least… “talk” about water.

  19. Alex Alleyne May 30, 2017 at 11:05 am

    BWA and CBC need a shake-up which is long over due. NO SALARY INCREASE for none of them.

  20. allison archer May 30, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I’m not one for job losses but the government has created this dependent, lackadaisical system where most workers don’t believe they have been given employment to produce eight hours of work consistently, the approach, punctuality, conduct, even mode of dress etc. leaves a lot to be desired

    so many posts created to accommodate families and friends which needs to be curtailed
    to be honest Mr. Halliday suggestions aren’t bad at all but will the ones who truly frustrate the working environment, will they be the first to go?

  21. Haskell Murray May 30, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    There is a fundamental problem with the Chairman not supporting the General Manager , because I know that in any properly run business the Chairman and the GM would have reviewed these proposals before they went to the minister ,but it looks like the chairman did not see these proposals hence his non public support
    which is very unprofessional and the GM should quit with immediate effect , because the relationship will not work and from what I read Keithroy is a true professional

  22. Petra May 30, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    This man speaking the truth. We just don’t want to hear. Management at most of the corporations have wasted the money. Govt continues to support such bad management by giving them subsidies. Now all of us have to pay. It’s going to be a long painful period. Correct it now our generations to come will be on a mess

  23. Mikey May 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I pray to God that when Solutions Barbados wins the next elections, they keep in remembrance all the positive ideas they currently have to get this country out of Hell’s Hole.
    Barbadians deserve MUCH MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.
    DLP and BLP both had their attempts at turning this country into a Graveyard. No more. Amen.

  24. Alex Alleyne May 30, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    9 to 5 safe , it’s the “overtime” that matter.


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