Sealy anxious for an end to sewage mess

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy today said he was eager to see an end to the troubling sewage mess along a section of the tourism belt on the island’s south coast.

The constant flow of raw sewage onto the streets and the compounds of homes and businesses, mainly in Hastings and Worthing, Christ Church, has left locals and visitors alike worried, and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) at a loss as to how to fix the problem.

The BWA has declared that it is a national crisis, and as tourists begin to join Barbadians in raising a stink about the ongoing mess, there are increasing concerns that it could hurt the island’s bread and butter industry.

Speaking to reporters today at the Bridgetown Port after welcoming the 821, 864th cruise passenger to visit the island for the year – a new record for cruise arrivals –  Sealy said he met yesterday with BWA and other officials and was assured that the problem was being urgently addressed.

However, he admitted that he was anxious to see an end to the vexing issue.

“Only yesterday I happened to be part of an exercise that allowed me to be briefed on where we are going with that, so we are anxious to see it brought to an end. And of course, once the relief comes we then have to decide on the long-term solutions in terms of going forward because we certainly don’t want a recurrence of it,” said Sealy, who a year ago had joined Minister of Health John Boyce – in full view of the media – for a swim in the waters off Worthing Beach in a bid to assure both locals and visitors that it was not contaminated with faeces.

Since that obvious public relations stunt, which appeared to have backfired, the minister has been less visible as it relates to the sewage issue, although he told Barbados TODAY in a brief comment on his way to Parliament earlier this month that the matter was being actively addressed.

“The [Barbados] Water Authority has assured me they are actively putting measures in place, getting the right advice to have it dealt with. Obviously it is a problem, a serious problem and it is being actively addressed. That is what I understand,” Sealy said at the time.

He repeated this very reassurance today, one day after south coast resident and community activist Adrian Donovan openly called for the temporary closure of fast food outlets, restaurants and guest accommodations directly affected by the worsening crisis.

“The teams at the Barbados Water Authority are actively dealing with that issue and I have been assured that the course they are on will bring relief to that entire situation in short order. Obviously, it is a situation that needs to be attended to and is being attended to urgently,” Sealy stressed.   

Government’s primary private sector tourism partner, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), earlier this month called on the authorities to act swiftly to end the crisis.

Chief Executive Officer Rudy Grant in a statement three weeks ago described the situation as both “unacceptable” and “untenable”, while warning that the current image of the south coast was not the one that Barbados would wish to present at this time.

He therefore called on the authorities to immediately remedy the problem, while warning that it had “the potential to negatively impact ‘Brand Barbados’ and cost millions of dollars in visitor receipts if it becomes a subject of concern in our source markets.

“This matter concerns us not only from the perspective of the impact on the tourism industry, but also as it relates to the welfare and well-being of Barbadians and visitors,” Grant had said.

A week later, BHTA Chairman Roseanne Myers called for immediate action to flush out the problem once and for all, saying she was running out of patience.

12 Responses to Sealy anxious for an end to sewage mess

  1. luther thorne December 30, 2017 at 1:19 am

    Dont care how many accidents happen on the Roads , drivers and motor cyclists still continue to do nonsense on the Roads. One time when there was a widely reported accident , people would slow down on the roads and be more careful at least for a period of time. Nowadays nothing matters. Motor cycles want BANNING from the Roads . Too many problems. A good Musician and a motorcycle

    • Belfast December 30, 2017 at 2:57 pm

      Luther , If the sewage problem continues flooding the South Coast road pretty soon all motorcyclist and bicyclist will ban themselves from using that part of Highway 7.

  2. Tony Webster December 30, 2017 at 5:06 am

    @Luther T. Your motor-cycle skid offa the road/page?
    I too enjoyed riding a motor-cycle in younger times…until I was plucked off it by an inebriated car-driving idiot. Very exciting; very risky. Four wheels waay better.

  3. Observer December 30, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Very Embarrassing it’s seems the people in charge have no shame

  4. harry turnover December 30, 2017 at 8:45 am

    …but Sealy you in saying nutten.
    EVERY BODY is anxious for an end to the sewage mess…you just heard about the mess ??

  5. Sick and Tired. December 30, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I am at a lost. I thought that it was the responsibility of all parties: the minister, the BWA, the environmentalists and experts etc to have a meeting to discuss findings and solutions to this sewage crisis. It seems that it is being dealt with in such a juvenile manner. On a side note, the problem in Barbados is that there are too many people with paper qualifications and degrees who don’t have a clue what is going on or how to tackle dan resolve anything. Ultimately, Richard Sealy has to take the hit for this mess.

    As for the cruise ship arrivals, most are air to sea transfers which means that thousands of passengers come to the island from the North East (Europe) via flights like TomasCook etc and are transported immediately to the Port to board their respective cruise ships. Hardly any money is spent in the Terminals- air or sea.

    And as for air traffic, no money is spent on updating the equipment at the Airport. the Localizer, an important piece of equipment which helps a pilot to execute a precise landing has been unserviceable now for months.

  6. Buun December 30, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Is there an answer to this problem when your keep hearing the word “assured” in every report form all stakeholders?

    Each stakeholder uses the word “assure” but no one can actually confirm the problem going on? But be assure they are working on it!

    Every answer to this problem is assure this, assure that, assure this person or that person …

    Assure = facts! And I’m not hearing any facts on solving this problem!

  7. Buun December 30, 2017 at 9:58 am

    Do not worry, they are just waiting for someone to “re-assure” them again, the problem is fixed so they can go for another dip in the sea.

  8. John Everatt December 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    That is the way it is here. The politicians sound like they are saying something but in reality they are saying nothing. This is the same with the BWA. They tell us they are working “round the clock” to fix this. Well that is a lie. One only has to do the math to see that they could not afford to have a crew on 24 hours a day for over a year working on this and getting nowhere. So the public is again left in the dark.

  9. Tom B December 30, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    They better remedy the problem quickly or there will be cancellations on reservations and I know for a fact of three cancellations and in the group that I meet, where we stay there could be up to a twelve more not going.We spend thousands of dollars and we do not wish to walking through sewage and smelling it.Besides the the very unhealthy enviroment to the people who live there and no place to go,we the visitors can stay home and avoid the situation.Its not just hotels etc.loosing out there are car rentals,restaurants,bars,catamarans,fishing boats you name it,they will be put into dire situations.So come on BWA,all the politicos get your act together and correct the situation or next election you just might wish you had.Good luck.

  10. Silvio December 31, 2017 at 7:13 am

    So what, we got a failin’, brekin’ down, sewage system (because sufficient funds could not be allocated to run proper preventative maintenance pun it) and sewage flowin’ in de streets stinkin up de place as a result .

    Jus’ get in wunna car (or catch a ZR) and drive by de Pine an’ admire de sparklin’ new multimillion dollar BWA headquarters, and den drive pass de Garrisson and admire PM Freundel’s pitchfork monument juhkin’ up out de ground, – a culmination of a modest $7,000,000 spent on 50th aniversary of independence celebrations.

    That would all gots to mek wunna feel prouder dan s*** to be a Bajan, seein’ our wise and dear (pun intended) leader know jess how to set spending priorities to spend de taxpayer hard earn money pun de most important tings first.

    • Bajan December 31, 2017 at 10:41 am

      It appears, to the average Bajan, that they there has been long-term neglect or poor maintenance of the national sewerage systems. To compound the matter it also appears as though the appropriate qualified and competent people were never hired to manage or maintain the national sewerage plants.

      The entire management and engineering team needs assessing by independent international business analysts with expertise in sewerage management and recommendations followed up on.

      We need to stop pretending that this problem popped up out of the blue. People are responsible for this!


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